The New York Times reports that former National Security Advisor John Bolton said President Donald Trump told him he wanted military aid to Ukraine linked to an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in his forthcoming book.
The report led to a new round of calls for senators to subpoena Bolton as a witness in the Senate trial.
In a series of tweets, Trump denied that he told Bolton he wanted to link aid to an investigation of the Bidens.
“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.”
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. With that being said, the…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
…(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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
News of the reportedly “bombshell” content of the book didn’t sit well some commentators.
CNN analyst Asha Rangappa suggested that Bolton may have refused to testify before House impeachment investigators because it would have hurt his book sales.
So basically Bolton didn’t want to testify to House bc then what’s coming out now would be old news and might hurt the preorder sales for his book? Just trying to do the math— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) January 27, 2020
Conservative commentators suggested that Bolton’s book was designed to hurt the president politically:
If you think anyone other than Bolton’s lawyer, publisher, or agent leaked this to 1) juice sales of his book, and 2) get revenge against Trump for firing Bolton and refusing to start a bunch of new wars, you’re an idiot. https://t.co/JQSHl9DP4T— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 27, 2020
John Bolton is running the exact same revenge playbook against Trump that James Comey used. He’s even using the same agent and leaking to the same reporters. All because he’s mad Trump fired him for leaking and trying to start new wars. It’s so boring and predictable.— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 27, 2020
So some bad press involving a former member of Trump's administration leaked to the New York Times and than that person's Amazon link for his new book went up a few hours later.— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 27, 2020
Where have I heard this story before?
This is obviously book promo coordinated with compliant media, yes. But an additional word of skepticism: these *particular* folks have a pattern of overpromising and underachieving with their "bombshell" anti-Trump book roll outs. https://t.co/xid14bUvmG— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 27, 2020
Given the obvious timing of this, wondering if they will let Michael Avenatti out of prison to help Julie Swetnick claim she was on the phone call with Trump too, so the media can breathlessly print her insane and fact free allegations in a last desperate act to rig the trial https://t.co/RYLgPKwbNs— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) January 27, 2020
What an amazing coincidence! pic.twitter.com/G6KeFoOzan— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) January 27, 2020
This came along right about on schedule. https://t.co/cSXZDVKpNB— Brit Hume (@brithume) January 27, 2020
Amazing how this happened immediately after The New York Times ran their story, almost like it was coordinated to promote book sales!— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 27, 2020
This tweet from Stelter was posted 25 minutes ago: pic.twitter.com/PXxWOyLJQu
Bolton refused to testify in the House probe, telling lawmakers he would take a subpoena to court to decide whether he must comply. But recently, he said he would comply with a subpoena to testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial.
On Monday, Trump sent out a misleading tweet that suggested House Democrats did not ask Bolton to testify — and therefore missed their window to hear testimony from him.
The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify. It is up to them, not up to the Senate!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
The House did ask Bolton to testify, but after he vowed to fight it in court they decided against pursuing his testimony.
Democrats have called for Bolton to testify in the Senate trial, but that would require a simple majority of senators to vote to call him as a witness.
It is unclear whether the details from Bolton’s book will sway enough Republican senators to vote to subpoena Bolton.