While it’s still an open question as to whether a sufficient number of Republican Senators— or any, for that matter — will vote to allow testimony from as-yet-unheard-from witnesses in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the likely testimony from one of the most sought after voices with first-hand knowledge of the president’s Ukraine schemes was exposed today when The New York Times managed to get an advance draft of an outline of Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s upcoming book.
The details revealed in the outline explain why Trump’s defense team — both his official attorneys and the Republican senators who have abandoned all pretense of being impartial arbiters of the facts of the charges against him — are working so hard to prevent Bolton or any other fact witnesses from testifying publicly before the Senate passes judgment on the removal of the president from office.
According to The Times:
“President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.”
That smell? Oh, it’s just another smoking gun.
The newspaper attributes its description of the contents of Bolton’s tell-all political potboiler to “multiple people,” while noting that the mustachioed former advisor had provided copies of his working draft of the book to close associates as well as to the White House for the standard security review process.
The White House review — which is required of many former senior administration officials who wish to publish their remembrances of things Trump — means that the administration can delay or prevent the publication of the book by holding back approval unless the publisher excises any sections that they refuse to clear for publication in the interest of “national security” or for whatever other reason they may or may not decide to divulge.
The article in The New York Times claims that “dozens of pages” of Bolton’s book are dedicated to a description of “how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September.” Some of the new details allegedly revealed in the draft implicate senior cabinet members in the administration in ways that have not been previously disclosed.
“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,” according to the newspaper.
Bolton contradicts Attorney General William Barr’s claims that he first learned about the controversy over the Ukraine military aid withholding in mid-August by stating that he told Barr about his worries over Rudy Giuliani’s activities conducting a shadowy foreign policy operation in Ukraine in a conversation immediately after Trump’s supposedly “perfect” phone call with President Zelensky in July.
The former National Security Advisor also puts White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in an uncomfortable position by noting his presence during “at least one phone call where the president and Mr. Giuliani discussed the ambassador” to Ukraine whom they were planning on eliminating, despite Mulvaney’s avowals that he always left the room when the president spoke with Giuliani in order to preserve their attorney-client privilege.
Bolton also relates a story about how Trump turned a debrief session from the attendees of President Zelensky’s inauguration into a conspiracy theory-laden rant about how Ukraine was out to get him.
With White House lawyers already in possession of Bolton’s draft, it’s no wonder that the administration is fighting so hard to prevent any additional testimony from either Bolton or any other direct witnesses to the actions he describes. Trump has already related his objections to any Bolton testimony as a matter of national security.
“’The problem with John is it’s a national security problem,’ Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. ‘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?'” The Times quotes the president.
“It’s going to make the job very hard,” Trump added.
While that last statement may be true, perhaps it’s not for quite the same reason that the president suggests.
While Trump will almost certainly call The New York Times account of the contents of John Bolton’s unpublished book “fake news” — likely shortly before he labels his former advisor a malicious, self-serving fabricator — the early leak of its uncensored bombshells should only increase the pressure on the Senate to call witnesses to testify or risk even further outrage from the public over their obvious coverup of the president’s criminal actions.
You can read the full article about John Bolton’s upcoming book in the link to The New York Times article below.
Bolton's motivations for testimony – he has a story he wants to tell, and he is concerned he'll be accused of holding stuff back to juice his book sales instead of speaking out https://t.co/N3Tsce4gR7
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 26, 2020
Original reporting by Maggie Haberman and