John Bolton Denies ‘Coordination’ with New York Times After Book Details Leak

National Security Advisor John Bolton, pictured on April 13, 2018, said President Donald Trump "has made no decision on the nuclear deal" with Iran
Mandel Ngan/AFP

A spokesperson for former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton denied Monday that he or his publishers coordinated with the New York Times after the newspaper published claims in his upcoming book about President Donald Trump and Ukraine.

“Ambassador John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, and Javelin Literary categorically state that there was absolutely no coordination with the New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book, THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED, at online booksellers. Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation,” Bolton aide Sarah Tinsley said in a statement.

The denial comes after the Times reported that Bolton’s book alleges President Trump sought to make U.S. military aid to Ukraine conditional, in exchange for inquiries into “Democrats.”

The Times reported:

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to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

Earlier Monday, President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets rejecting the claims, affirming the never sought to link Ukraine assistance to any investigations.

Speaking to reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the president reaffirmed Bolton’s purported claims were categorically “false.”

“I haven’t seen a manuscript, but I can tell you nothing was ever said to John Bolton,” he added. “I guess he’s writing a book. I have not seen it.”

The White House National Security Council confirmed that it received a draft of the book for review, but noted that White House staff outside the NSC had not looked it over.

“Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript was submitted to the NSC for pre-publication review and has been under initial review by the NSC,” said spokesman John Ullyot. “No White House personnel outside NSC have reviewed the manuscript.”

The development has reignited calls by Democrats for Bolton to testify in the Senate’s impeachment trial. In a press conference earlier Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared Bolton’s purported claims “essentially” confirmed President Trump “committed the offenses charged in the first article of impeachment.”

“If there was ever even a shred of logic left to not hear witnesses and review the documents, Mr. Bolton’s book just erased it,” the New York Democrat argued.

Moderate Republicans have also signaled interest in hearing from Bolton, with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) leading the charge in saying his testimony was now “important” to consider.

“I think with the story that came out yesterday, it’s increasingly apparent it would be important to hear from John Bolton,” Romney told reporters. “I, of course, will make a final decision on witnesses after we’ve heard from not only the prosecution but also the defense. But I think at this stage it’s pretty fair to say that John Bolton has a relevant testimony to provide to those of us who are sitting in impartial justice.”

Further, Collins released a statement Monday in which she reiterated her support for additional witnesses at the trial. “The reports about Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues,” the senator said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said of the Times’ report: “I stated before that I was curious as to what John Bolton might have to say. From the outset, I’ve worked to ensure this trial would be fair and that members would have the opportunity to weigh in after its initial phase to determine if we need more info. I’ve also said there is an appropriate time for us to evaluate whether we need additional information —that time is almost here. I look forward to the White House wrapping up presentation of its case.”

The senator’s remarks came as President Trump’s legal team began wrapping up their arguments against the president’s removal from office.

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