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Bolton's Book Alleges Trump Tied Aid to Investigations

Bolton's Book Alleges Trump Tied Aid to Investigations
John Bolton (AP)

By    |   Sunday, 26 January 2020 07:44 PM

Former national security adviser John Bolton claims in a manuscript of his upcoming book that President Donald Trump's hold on U.S. military aid to Ukraine last summer was linked to demands that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats, an order Bolton said came from Trump himself.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton's book includes several dozen pages about the Ukraine matter, which kicked off an impeachment inquiry in the House last fall. Trump was impeached in December and is now on trial in the Senate.

Bolton, according to the Times, claims that Trump told him in August that the pause on $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine — which is fighting an ongoing conflict with Russia — would continue until Ukraine agreed to investigate Biden and his son Hunter. During a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy last July, Trump indicated the Bidens were corrupt and they needed to be investigated.

Hunter Biden had a lucrative position on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father was serving in the Obama administration.

Bolton left the Trump White House in September and has not said much publicly about the Ukraine matter, but it's been reported that he knows what went on behind the scenes. Democrats would like Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, but so far the Republican-controlled body has yet to approve of additional witnesses being called.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Friday that if Bolton were to be called as a witness, the Trump administration would likely block his testimony by invoking executive privilege.

Trump and his defenders claim the Ukraine aid holdup was due to corruption in the eastern European nation.

Bolton, the Times notes, has shared his book manuscript with multiple people and also sent a copy to the White House so it can be vetted for publication.

In the book draft, Bolton also pokes holes in other parts of Trump's defense that concern Attorney General William Barr and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Bolton's book deal is worth roughly $2 million.

Bolton, who acrimoniously left the White House a day before Trump ultimately released the Ukraine aid on Sept. 11, has already told lawmakers that he is willing to testify, despite the president’s order barring aides from cooperating in the probe.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment Sunday night. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has played a prominent role in the Ukraine affair, replied to a request for comment with a text: “I used to like and respect John and tell people they were wrong about how irresponsible he was. I was wrong.”

Democrats need at least four Republicans to vote with them to seek witness testimony. Those prospects looked unlikely in recent days and it's unclear if the new revelations about Bolton's book will sway any GOP senators.

Democrats quickly sought to ramp up the pressure on their Republican counterparts.

“John Bolton has the evidence,” tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “It’s up to four Senate Republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of President Trump’s actions testify in the Senate trial.”

The Associated Press has not confirmed the content of Bolton's draft book. A person familiar with the matter told the AP the book had been submitted to the White House for pre-publication review, which is standard for the work of former officials with security clearances. The person insisted on anonymity to discuss the sensitive subject.

Democrats accuse Trump of abuse of power in withholding the military assistance to Ukraine to push that country to mount investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukraine gas company, Burisma, while his father was in office.

On Saturday, the president's attorneys said during their opening day of defense arguments that there was no evidence that Trump made the military aid contingent on the country announcing an investigation into Biden.

Trump on Wednesday told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, that he didn't want Bolton to testify before the Senate.

“The problem with John is it’s a national security problem," Trump said. “He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it’s not very positive and then I have to deal on behalf of the country?”

He added: “It's going to be very hard. It's going to make the job very hard.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Former national security adviser John Bolton claims in a manuscript of his upcoming book that President Donald Trump's hold on U.S. military aid to Ukraine last summer was linked to demands that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats, an...
bolton, senatetrial, ukraineaid
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2020-44-26
Sunday, 26 January 2020 07:44 PM
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