The damning drip, drip, drip from John Bolton’s leaked manuscript chronicling some of President Trump’s wrongdoing with Ukraine continued on Friday.
Bolton, who was Trump’s national security advisor at the time, says in his book that during a May 2019 Oval Office meeting, the president instructed him to call the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The president wanted Bolton to make sure Zelensky would meet with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to talk to officials about investigations into the president’s political opponents.
In the manuscript obtained by the New York Times, Bolton wrote that he never made that call. However, the timing of the meeting is significant because, according to Bolton, it took place more than two months prior to the now-infamous July call Trump had with Zelensky — and just a short time after Joe Biden entered the presidential race on April 25, 2019.
The other important revelation in the Times’ reporting on the manuscript is Bolton’s claim regarding who was at the May 2019 Oval Office meeting: Giuliani, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and Bolton were all in attendance.
Cipollone, who played a major role in defending the president during the impeachment trial, has denied having prior knowledge of matters that include Ukraine or attending any White House meetings on the topic. On January 21, five Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Cipollone asking him to recuse himself, claiming Cipollone was a “material witness” in both articles of impeachment against the president.
Mulvaney has also stated that he never took part in the meetings where Ukraine was discussed, claiming he would avoid them to protect the president and Giuliani’s attorney-client privilege
Giuliani denied the report and attacked Bolton, telling Politico’s Kenneth Vogel, “I think he’s making some of it up. He’s sure making up — I wouldn’t call it making it up, but he’s acting like a real scumbag by never telling me that he objected once, and then saying I was a time bomb, or a firecracker or something.”
Trump released a Trumptastic statement saying Bolton’s allegations were not true, “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. That meeting never happened”