Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton spoke highly of the House Democrat impeachment inquiry witnesses at a private event, adding they should be able to speak about the administration without “retribution.”
Bolton reportedly argued that current and former Trump administration officials including acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, National Security Council member Alexander Vindman, and fired U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch were correct to tell lawmakers what they knew about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“All of them acted in the best interest of the country as they saw it and consistent to what they thought our policies were,” Bolton said during a private event hosted by Luther King Capital Management in Austin, Texas, reports KXAN.
“The idea that somehow testifying to what you think is true is destructive to the system of government we have — I think, is very nearly the reverse — the exact reverse of the truth.”
Bolton’s remarks were publicized as The New York Times reported earlier in the week that the former national security adviser wrote in an upcoming book that President Trump tried to tie U.S. security assistance to Ukraine to probes of corruption allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Trump has denied the sought to tie military aid to any promise for an investigation, and pointed to a transcript of a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from July proving his point. The transcript does not contain any evidence of Trump pressuring Zelensky.
The Times dropped another alleged bombshell on Friday, reporting that Bolton writes in his book that two months before that phone call, the president “directed Bolton to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials.”
“Mr. Trump gave the instruction, Mr. Bolton wrote, during an Oval Office conversation in early May that included the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, who is now leading the president’s impeachment defense,” the paper reported.
The president also denied that claim.
“I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of N.Y.C., to meet with President Zelensky,” the president said Friday. “That meeting never happened.”
“It is absolutely, categorically untrue,” added Giuliani.