New York Times: Draft Bolton Book Says Trump Wanted to Withhold Ukraine Aid for Investigations

National Security Advisor John R. Bolton listens while US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before a meeting with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Oval Office of the White House on May 13, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read …
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

A draft of a book by former National Security Advisor John Bolton reportedly claims that President Donald Trump wanted to withhold aid to Ukraine until it completed investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and others, according to the New York Times on Sunday evening.

The Times‘ Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt reported (original links):

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to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.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

It is unclear whether the Times has actually reviewed the manuscript. The report cites “[m]ultiple people” who “described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-TX), who serves on the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees, tweeted Sunday evening, apparently in response: “I keep reading in the media about how there must have been some sort of political quid pro quo scheme…And yet, apparently the one group who didn’t know about it were the people supposedly being extorted—the Ukrainians.The facts haven’t changed.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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