Trump denies telling Bolton to pressure Ukraine
President Donald Trump denied Friday a new report that he instructed his then national security advisor John Bolton to get directly involved in a secret plot to pressure Ukraine’s president for personal political gain.
According to The New York Times, quoting from an as-yet-unpublished book by Bolton, Trump ordered his advisor to set up a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his own private lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The previously unreported order was delivered in May 2019, two months before the July phone call Trump made to Zelensky, asking him for a “favor,” that triggered impeachment in Congress for alleged abuse of power.
The purpose of the meeting, according to Bolton, was for Giuliani to pressure Zelensky to help Trump in digging up dirt on one of his main Democratic opponents ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden. Bolton never carried out Trump’s order, according to the Times account.
Trump issued a blanket denial.
“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 NYC, to meet with President Zelensky,” he said in a statement.
“That meeting never happened,” he said.
The latest leak from Bolton’s book came as the impeachment trial of Trump entered its last stages in the Senate. Although the Republican majority was almost sure to acquit Trump, leaked excerpts of Bolton’s book have reinforced the Democrats’ accusations at the last minute, sending shockwaves through Washington.