Politics Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says
The wisdom of a Biden-for-Bolton witness swap
Assessing the arguments for and against.There was no resolution Tuesday to the question of new witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial. As expected, Republicans clung to their stance that such questions should wait until later in the trial, while Democrats tried in vain to force the issue at the outset.
WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Mr. Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Mr. Barr mentioned conversations Mr. Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China.
Democrats demand Bolton testify after NYT report Trump directly told him Ukraine aid tied to investigations
President Donald Trump told John Bolton he wanted to freeze military aid to Ukraine until it investigated his Democratic rivals, a report said.In his upcoming book, Bolton writes that Trump directly and explicitly told him in August that he wished to withhold the $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that Congress had appropriated until officials there turned over documents related to the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Times reported, citing people who had seen the manuscript.
Mr. Bolton’s account underscores the fact that the unease about Mr. Trump’s seeming embrace of authoritarian leaders, long expressed by experts and his opponents, also existed among some of the senior cabinet officers entrusted by the president to carry out his foreign policy and national security agendas.
Mr. Bolton recounted his discussion with Mr. Barr in athat he submitted nearly a month ago to the White House for review. People familiar with the manuscript described its contents on the condition of anonymity.
The book also contains an account of Mr. Trump telling Mr. Bolton in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations of political rivals,on Sunday. The matter is at the heart of the articles of impeachment against the president.
GOP defends Trump as Bolton book adds pressure for witnesses
Pressure is increasing on senators to call John Bolton to testify at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial after the revelation that a draft of a book by the former national security adviser undercuts a key defense argument — that Trump never tied withholding military aid to Ukraine to his demand the country help investigate political rival Joe Biden. Bolton writes in the forthcoming book that Trump told him he wanted to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid from Ukraine until it helped him with investigations into Biden.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. In a statement on Monday, Mr. Bolton, his publisher and his literary agency said they had not shared the manuscript with The Times.
“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,” Mr. Bolton, Simon & Schuster and Javelin said in a joint statement. “Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation.”
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, responded that “The Times does not discuss its sources, but I should point out that no one has questioned the accuracy of our report.”
Mr. Bolton wrote in the manuscript that Mr. Barr singled out Mr. Trump’s conversations with Mr. Xi about the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE, which agreed in 2017and pay heavy fines for violating American sanctions on doing business with North Korea, Iran and other countries. A year later, Mr. Trump over objections from his own advisers and Republican lawmakers.
Mitch McConnell is angry at White House over John Bolton manuscript, report says
Hours before the trial resumed, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham pressed Trump's advisers to explain National Security Adviser John Bolton's accountThe Times reported Sunday evening that in his upcoming book, Bolton says President Donald Trump told him he did not want to release military aid to Ukraine until that country helped with investigations that could be damaging to Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
Mr. Barr also cited remarks Mr. Trump made to Mr. Erdogan in 2018 about the investigation of Halkbank, Turkey’s second-largest state-owned bank. The Justice Department was scrutinizing Halkbank on fraud and money-laundering charges for helping Iran evade sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department.
Mr. Erdogan had been making personal appeals to Mr. Trump to use his authority to halt any additional enforcement against the bank. In 2018, Mr. Erdogan told reporters in Turkey that Mr. Trump had promised to instruct cabinet members to follow through on the matter. The bank had hired a top Republican fund-raiser to lobby the administration on the issue.
For months, it looked as though the unusual lobbying effort might succeed; but in October, the Justice Departmentfor aiding Iran. The charges were seen in part as an attempt by the administration to show that it was taking a tough line on Turkey amid an outcry over of its incursions in Syria.
Mr. Bolton’s statements in the book align with other comments he has made since leaving the White House in September. In November, he said in a private speech that none of Mr. Trump’s advisers shared the president’s views on Turkey and that he believed Mr. Trump adopted a more permissive approach to the country because of his financial ties there,. Mr. Trump’s company has a property in Turkey.
Trump team braces for deeper impeachment drama after Bolton surprise
The president’s lawyers are already contemplating which administration witnesses would be best to rebut potential testimony from Bolton — if enough Senate Republicans turn against them.Now, White House officials and Trump lawyers are preparing for the possibility that the Senate impeachment trial will summon witnesses — dragging out the trial for days or weeks, cutting into plans for the State of the Union address and delaying Trump’s pivot to his reelection campaign.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly praised dictators throughout his presidency. Last year, he said, “Where’s my favorite dictator?” as he waited to meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt,.
Mr. Trump’s soft spot for authoritarians dates at least to his presidential campaign, whenSaddam Hussein for being “good” at killing terrorists and suggested that the world would be better off were Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the deposed Libyan dictator who was killed in a violent uprising in 2011, “in charge right now.” Mr. Trump then suggested the ouster of both men was ultimately worse for the Middle East because the Islamic State had filled the void.
Mr. Trump declared himself “a big fan” of Mr. Erdogan as they sat side by side in the Oval Office last fall after Mr. Trump cleared the way for Turkish forces to invade Syria, though he warned Mr. Erdogan behind the scenes against the offensive.
Of Mr. Xi, Mr. Trump has been similarly effusive. When the Chinese Communist Party eliminated term limits, allowing Mr. Xi to keep his tenure open-ended, Mr. Trump.
Mr. Xi had personally asked Mr. Trump to intervene to save ZTE, which was on the brink of collapse because of tough American penalties for sanctions violations.
, a Chinese telecommunications giant that also serves as a geopolitical pawn for its government, most likely helped Mr. Trump negotiate with Mr. Xi in the trade war between the two countries. But Republican lawmakers and others objected to helping a Chinese company that broke the law and has been accused of posing a national security threat.
Mr. Bolton’s reputation for muscular foreign policy was always an odd fit with Mr. Trump, who often threatens excessive force but rarely reacts with it. Mr. Bolton was pleased when Mr. Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, that the Obama administration had entered into. Other Trump advisers had urged him against it.
But Mr. Trump’s lack of action after Iranian aggression against the United States rankled Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Bolton’s book has already netted significant sales. Shortly after the disclosure of its contents on Sunday night, Amazon listed the book for purchase. By Monday evening, it was No. 17 on Amazon’s best-seller list.
Eric Lipton contributed reporting.
Eric Lipton contributed reporting.
10 must-read Black History Month book recommendations: Zora Neale Hurston, Kiley Reid and more .
Ten recently published and critically acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction by black authors to read this Black History Month.We've curated a list of 10 recently published and critically-acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction by black authors to read this February.
Impeachment Trial Day 4: Democrats to spotlight what they say is Trump's obstruction of Congress
Senators concluded the second day of opening arguments in President Trump's impeachment trial on Thursday night, with House Democrats arguing the ...
U.S. Senate: Impeachment Trial (Day 5)
The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump continues with opening arguments from House managers and the President's defense team.