Former national security adviser John Bolton said President Trump directly told him that he wanted to keep a freeze on aid to Ukraine until the country helped with investigations into the Bidens, according to a leaked manuscript obtained by The New York Times.
Bolton said Trump wanted to keep the freeze on $391 million in aid to Ukraine until the country agreed to help investigate the Bidens, according to The Times.
Bolton also wrote that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged there was no basis for Trump attorney Giuliani to claim that former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was corrupt and said he raised concerns about Giuliani to Attorney General Bill Barr after he was mentioned during Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Bolton wrote that he, Pompeo, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper tried to press Trump to release the aid “nearly a dozen times” after complaints from lower-level staffers but the president “rebuffed” their efforts.
"I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book," Trump tweeted after The Times report.
But Bolton attorney Chuck Cooper suggested the manuscript was leaked by someone at the White House.
"It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript," he told The Times.
Democrats step up calls for Bolton testimony:
"There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the president's defense and therefore must be called as a witness," the Democratic impeachment managers said in a statement. "The Senate trial must seek the full truth and Mr. Bolton has vital information to provide. There is no defensible reason to wait until his book is published."
"The president blocked our request for Bolton's testimony. Now we see why," said lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff. "Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President's defense. If the trial is to be fair, Senators must insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other documents."
"The refusal of the Senate to call for him, other relevant witnesses and documents is now even more indefensible," added House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "The choice is clear: our Constitution, or a cover-up."