Former White House national security adviser John Bolton denied Monday that he, his publisher, or his agent coordinated with the New York Times to release a portion of his book in a report on Sunday night.
The NY Times report alleged that Bolton said he was told by President Donald Trump that a freeze on military aid to Ukraine was linked to investigations. The NY Times report does not include any quotes or excerpts from the forthcoming book, “In The Room Where It Happened.” The Ukraine-investigations allegation is a focal point of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, where Democrats have alleged the president abused his power and obstructed Congress.
“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,” a spokesperson for Bolton told Axios and the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
Some Republican members of Congress suggested that the timing of the NY Times report was suspect—as Trump’s legal team was scheduled to mount their defense of the president on Monday in the Senate impeachment trial.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” Trump wrote on Twitter. He also noted that Ukrainian President Zelensky and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko both went on record and denied there was no quid pro quo.
“I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations … and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations—and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration,” Trump wrote.
The new allegations restarted calls by Democrats for Bolton to testify in the trial.
“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,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Monday morning. House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters that the Senate cannot have a “meaningful trial” if Bolton doesn’t testify.
Some moderate Republicans have also expressed interest in witnesses following the report.
“I think with the story that came out yesterday, it’s increasingly apparent it would be important to hear from John Bolton,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) 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.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) likewise said in a statement: “The reports about Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.”