Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the White House should hand over a copy of former national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book after The New York Times published alleged details on Jan. 26, claiming Bolton wrote that he was told by President Donald Trump about a freeze on aid to Ukraine.
“I am encouraging the White House, anybody that I can talk to, to say: That manuscript is pertinent and we should get access to that manuscript to see what they’re actually saying,” Lankford said in a Facebook video. “I think getting that information firsthand would be really important for us.”
“My encouragement would be: If John Bolton’s got something to say, there’s plenty of microphones all over the country that he should step forward and start talking about it right now,” he said.
The NY Times, citing the book, claimed Bolton said he was told about a linkage between military aid and investigations, renewing calls among Democrats to call Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. However, several White House officials and Trump have disputed Bolton’s assertion, and the newspaper didn’t provide any excerpts from the book.
Lankford echoed a statement made by Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, who publicly urged the White House to deliver a copy of the manuscript.
“I think what we have to do here is evaluate the manuscript. … I want to know what’s in the manuscript,” Graham told The Hill. “The White House said there was no direct evidence of communication. Maybe this suggests that one person said there might be. What I’ve said all along is, if you’re going to add to the record, we’re going to do it in a balanced way.
“If we add to the record, we’re going to call Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and all these other people.”
Graham also took to Twitter to call for the manuscript, writing that it should “be made available to the Senate, if possible, in a classified setting where each Senator has the opportunity to review the manuscript and make their own determination.”
I totally support @SenatorLankford‘s proposal that the Bolton manuscript be made available to the Senate, if possible, in a classified setting where each Senator has the opportunity to review the manuscript and make their own determination. https://t.co/e18nUfSMgI
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 28, 2020
In response to the report, Trump wrote on Twitter that he “NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens.”
“If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” the president wrote on Jan. 26.
Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard professor and Trump legal team member, referred to the book while defending the president on Jan. 27 on the Senate floor.
“If the president, any president, were to have done what the [New York] Times reported about the content of the Bolton manuscript, that would not constitute an impeachable offense,” Dershowitz said. “Let me repeat: Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense.
“That is clear from the history. That is clear from the language of the Constitution,” he continued. “You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like ‘quid pro quo’ and ‘personal benefit.'”