Thu, 27 Feb 2020

Bolton Book Undermines Trump Impeachment Defense

Voice of America
28 Jan 2020, 04:05 GMT+10

WHITE HOUSE - The team around U.S. President Donald Trump is turning against his former national security adviser after John Bolton, in an upcoming book, undercuts one of the key points of the president's defense in his impeachment trial.

A senior legal adviser to the Trump re-election campaign, Jenna Ellis, who is also an attorney to the president, accuses Bolton of "willing to sell out America...just to score a book deal or 5 minutes of fame."

Retweeting Ellis on Monday, the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said this was "So true & so unfortunate."

At least one senator of Trump's Republican party is indicating the revelations in the book may compel witnesses, including Bolton, to be called at the impeachment trial.

Senator Mitt Romney of the state of Utah says the former national security adviser has relevant testimony to provide and he think "it's increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton."

Trump's defense team has maintained that president had valid reasons for withholding military aid from Ukraine.

In their arguments to senators, the president's lawyers are rebutting Democrats' allegation of a "quid pro quo." They say the president was not going to help Kyiv until Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky announced an investigation of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son who served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father was in office.

Bolton, in "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," to be published March 17, states Trump wanted to freeze military assistance to Ukraine until Kyiv's government announced the investigation.

The New York Times, which revealed online Sunday excerpts from the book, also reported after Trump's July 25, 2019 phone call with Zelensky, Bolton raised his concerned with Attorney General William Barr that the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy.

Trump, early Monday morning, denied Bolton's account, saying his former adviser "never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book."

The president later inaccurately stated in a tweet that Democrats never asked Bolton to testify during last night's impeachment inquiry in the House.

Contents of Bolton's manuscript were submitted to the National Security Council for a standard security review on December 30, 2019.

Bolton's attorney, Charles Cooper, is blaming the White House for disclosing contents of the book.

Before Bolton spent 17 months as Trump's national security adviser, he had a long track record as a hawk on foreign policy, giving him credibility among Republican senators who will have to decide if he should testify in the ongoing impeachment trial.

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