White House challenges leaked assertions in upcoming Bolton book

Several top White House officials on Tuesday challenged details leaked from an upcoming book by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, including Attorney General William Barr.

According to a report from anonymous sources by The New York Times, Bolton allegedly told Barr he was worried that President Trump was granting favors to the leaders of China and Turkey.

Bolton reportedly claimed that Barr responded that he was also concerned.

But the Justice Department pushed back, saying the AG never engaged in such a conversation.

“There was no discussion of ‘personal favors’ or ‘undue influence’ on investigations, nor did Attorney General Barr state that the president’s conversations with foreign leaders was improper,” department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a  late Monday.

“If this is truly what Mr. Bolton has written, then it seems he is attributing to Attorney General Barr his own current views—views with which Attorney General Barr does not agree.”

Additionally, an attorney for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also challenged claims that are apparently part of Bolton’s manuscript.

Bolton allegedly claims in his book that Mulvaney was present when the president spoke with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, regarding former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump had fired last year.

No excerpts from the book were published by any of the outlets that reported on leaked details.

“John Bolton never informed Mick Mulvaney of any concerns surrounding Bolton’s purported August conversation with the president,” Mulvaney’s lawyer, Bob Driscoll, said in a statement.

“Nor did Mr. Mulvaney ever have a conversation with the president or anyone else indicating that Ukrainian military aid was withheld in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation of Burisma, the Bidens, or the 2016 election.”

“Furthermore, Mr. Mulvaney has no recollection of any conversation with Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani resembling that reportedly described in Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, as it was Mr. Mulvaney’s practice to excuse himself from conversations between the president and his personal counsel to preserve any attorney-client privilege,” the statement said.

The president himself also pushed back on the book’s alleged claim that he told Bolton he wanted the Ukrainian government to investigate corruption claims against former Vice President Joe Biden, now a 2020 Democratic rival, and his son, Hunter Biden.

“NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“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 added.

Bolton has not denied the reports about the book but he has denied coordinating with The New York Times and other media outlets.

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