Speed Reads


Report: In his book, John Bolton writes Trump held up Ukraine aid over Biden investigation

In an unpublished manuscript he has been sending to close associates, former National Security Adviser John Bolton writes that in August, President Trump told him he wanted to withhold military assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, The New York Times reports.

During a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky to launch investigations into the Bidens and a debunked conspiracy that Ukraine, not Russia, stole documents from Democrats; Trump defenders have said his decision to freeze the aid, which was finally released in mid-September, had nothing to do with his request.

Bolton, who left his post in September, also writes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo privately shot down Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's claims that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was corrupt, calling them baseless and questioning whether Giuliani was acting on behalf of other clients, the Times reports. Bolton said after Trump's call with Zelensky, he went to Attorney General William Barr to share his concerns about Giuliani and let Barr know Trump mentioned his name to Zelensky. The Justice Department has said Barr didn't find this out until mid-August.

The manuscript offers insight into what Bolton might testify to if called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial; during the House inquiry, Bolton complied with a White House ban on officials cooperating, blocking several people with firsthand knowledge of the Ukraine affair from testifying. Bolton has since said he will testify if subpoenaed. For more on what Bolton has to say in this draft of his book, visit The New York Times.