'Bombshell' Excerpt from Bolton Book Leaks, But the Timing Is Very Suspect

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Posted: Jan 27, 2020 6:40 AM
'Bombshell' Excerpt from Bolton Book Leaks, But the Timing Is Very Suspect

Source: AP Photo/Martin Mejia

President Trump blasted John Bolton on Sunday after a bombshell excerpt from his forthcoming book leaked that could be used against him in the impeachment trial, accusing his former national security adviser of trying to boost book sales. 

“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,” the president tweeted. “If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems.

“Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations,” he continued. "(Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.”

Trump’s response came after The New York Times published a report about the excerpt that says the president tied $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine to officials helping investigate the Bidens.

Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.

For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.

Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.

And the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was present for at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador, Mr. Bolton wrote. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he would always step away when the president spoke with his lawyer to protect their attorney-client privilege.

During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton.

During a previously reported May 23 meeting where top advisers and Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, briefed him about their trip to Kyiv for the inauguration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Trump railed about Ukraine trying to damage him and mentioned a conspiracy theory about a hacked Democratic server, according to Mr. Bolton. (NYT)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said the report has more to do with Bolton trying to increase his book advance. 

“All Americans know that no human being is ever in a more hyperbolic state than when they are pitching a book deal," Gaetz told Fox News' Steve Hilton. "John Bolton right now isn't negotiating testimony, he’s negotiating the size of his advance. People make the boldest claims in the starkest terms to try to juice that advanced number. I don’t make much of this. I do think there is a correlated Democratic strategy to try to have these time-released fuses go off at various intervals. I think they’re trying to keep the show lively because they know the underlying facts do not support impeachment and would require this president to be exonerated.”

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani responded to the report, telling ABC News he was "wrong" about Bolton. 

 "I used to like and respect John, and tell people they were wrong about how irresponsible he was. I was wrong," the told John Santucci, ABC's senior editorial producer.

"He never once expressed concern to me. If he had confronted me, I could have explained it to him.....He wasn’t man enough to just ask and instead makes false and irresponsible barges to write a book about his failed career."

Bolton's lawyer Charles Cooper blamed the White House for the leak.

“It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those involved in reviewing the manuscript," Cooper said in a statement.

The book is titled "The Room Where It Happened" and is scheduled to be released March 17, according to the Amazon product page, which just happened to go live on Sunday.

Predictably, Democrats are using the excerpt to demand that Bolton be called as a witness in the impeachment trial.