President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff came to the defense of former National Security Advisor John Bolton on Monday evening, saying in a speech that he had no reason not to believe allegations he has made regarding the Ukraine scandal.
In a book set to be published this spring, Bolton alleges that Trump told him directly that the president explained a hold in military aid to Ukraine was done precisely to compel that nation to announce an investigation into a political rival of Trump’s, the New York Times reported.
The allegation is at the center of Trump’s impeachment trial, presently happening in the Senate, where Democratic House managers have alleged the president abused his powers in order to benefit personally, as well as politically, as he seeks to win re-election to his post later this year.
Bolton has not spoken about the incident since details of his book were revealed. Nevertheless, Trump went on the attack against his former NSA.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Trump said in a tweet on Sunday evning. “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.”
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. 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. With that being said, the…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
Trump also retweeted a post from conservative journalist Sean Davis, who opined that “John Bolton is trying to get rich off of a lie.”
But Trump’s former Chief of Staff Ret. Gen. John Kelly stood up for Bolton, rebuking the president’s characterizations of him.
“If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said during a lecture event in Sarasota, Florida, on Monday night.
Kelly argued that Bolton was honest with him and the president at all times, even when it wasn’t always in his best interest to be. “Every single time I was with him…he always gave the president the unvarnished truth,” Kelly explained, per reporting from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
The Senate will soon debate over whether to hear from material witnesses in the impeachment trial, with Bolton being chief among those whom Democrats would like to hear from. Republicans, for the most part, are opposed to doing so, although a few moderates have said they’re thinking of siding with Democrats, especially when it comes to hearing straight from Bolton’s mouth what he knows about the Ukraine matter.