“With that being said,” Trump continued, “the … transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems.”
Trump went on to cite his first face-to-face meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United Nations in September, and asserted that he “released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations – and far ahead of schedule.”
The president also referenced the State Department’s approval in October of a new sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, writing that “My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.”
The latest accusations of Trump’s pursuit of a quid pro quo with Ukraine strike at the heart of the impeachment articles the House passed last month, and have already provoked a fresh spate of demands by congressional Democrats for Bolton to testify in the president’s Senate trial.
Although Senate Republicans have been reluctant to hear additional testimony from Bolton as well as acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and others with knowledge of the Ukraine scandal, a vote to call new witnesses is expected in the coming days and would require the support of only four GOP lawmakers to succeed.
Bolton had refused to honor House Democrats’ request to sit for a deposition during their impeachment inquiry last year, deferring to a blanket order from the White House for administration officials to not cooperate with the investigation. But in an unexpected statement earlier this month, Bolton said he was “prepared to testify” should the Senate issue him a subpoena.
The president attempted Monday to head off such a maneuver by the chamber charged with deciding whether to evict him from office, falsely tweeting that the “Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify. It is up to them, not up to the Senate!”
Appearing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House later in the morning, the president again rejected the Bolton charges as “false,” and told reporters he had not reviewed his former aide’s manuscript.
Bolton’s attorney said he turned over a hard copy of the draft to the National Security Council late last month to ensure it did not inadvertently share classified information. An NSC spokesperson said the book remains under “pre-publication review,” and that “no White House personnel outside NSC have reviewed the manuscript.”
“I haven’t seen the manuscript, but I can tell you nothing was ever said to John Bolton,” Trump said Monday. “But I have not seen a manuscript. I guess he’s writing a book. I have not seen it.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham similarly rebuffed the Times’ report based on Bolton’s manuscript, noting that his 528-page book was made available for pre-order on Amazon shortly after the news broke Sunday evening. She also recalled that the Times in 2017 published details of a memo which FBI Director James Comey leaked memorializing his interactions with the president.