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House Foreign Affairs Chairman Says Bolton Suggested He Look Into the Outster of Ukraine Ambassador

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After it was reported that former National Security Advisor John Bolton wrote in his forthcoming book that President Donald Trump linked military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of Democrats, the president claimed Bolton never voiced a concern.

But on Wednesday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that Bolton suggested the House open an investigation into the firing of Marie Yovanovitch — the former ambassador to Ukraine.

“President Trump is wrong that John Bolton didn’t say anything about the Trump-Ukraine Scandal at the time the President fire him. He said something to me.”

Engel says his staff contacted Bolton to ask him to “talk to” the House Foreign Affairs Committee “to aid our general oversight efforts of U.S. foreign policy.” During the phone call, Engel said Bolton “strongly implied” that “something improper” had happened.

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“He and I spoke by telephone on September 23. On that call, Ambassador Bolton suggested to me — unprompted — that the committee look into the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. He strongly implied that something improper had occurred around her removal as our top diplomat in Kyiv.”

“I said nothing public about what was a private conversation,” Engel continued. “I informed my colleagues. It was one of the reasons we wished to hear from Ambassador Bolton, under oath, in a formal setting.”

Additionally, Engel said “it’s important” to have Bolton testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial “now that the president has called his credibility into question.”

CNN’s Manu Raju noted that the phone call between Engel and Bolton occurred one day before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the beginning of the impeachment inquiry. 

Engel’s statement comes as Democrats have ramped up calls to subpoena Bolton to testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Republican senators on Tuesday that he did not have enough votes to block new witnesses.

However, on Wednesday, The Hill reported that Republican senators were confident they had the votes to block new witnesses.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) told reporters, “We’re going to get it done by Friday, hopefully.”

“If I had to guess, no witnesses,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said, adding, “We’ll be in a place where I think everyone is going to have their mind made up and I believe that we’ll be able to move to a verdict, and the witness question will be clear at that point.”

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