In an interview with ABC News’s Martha Raddatz, which aired Sunday night, former national security advisor John Bolton spoke about allegations President Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump was impeached in the House and acquitted in the Senate, but Bolton said Trump did exactly what congressional Democrats had charged.
“The linkage between the military assistance and that opportunity to go after Joe Biden didn’t emerge immediately, but I could see that the issue was there. He said it to me directly that that’s what he had in mind. And I’ll say again, I think it was widely understood at senior levels in the government that that’s exactly what his objective was,” Bolton said, later adding, “He directly linked the provision of that assistance with the investigation.”
Despite having first-hand knowledge of the president’s wrongdoing, Bolton didn’t testify in the House investigation or in the Senate trial, and Bolton defended his decision not to do so.
“I think the way the House advocates of impeachment proceeded was badly wrong,” Bolton said. “I think it was impeachment malpractice.” “You could have been the person providing that testimony,” Raddatz pushed. “And it would not have made any difference,” Bolton replied, adding, when asked how he could know that, “Because minds were made up on Capitol Hill.”
Bolton is openly speaking for the first time about Trump withholding the aid to Ukraine while promoting his new book, The Room Where It Happened, after months of silence. But Bolton maintains this is not about money.
“It has nothing to do with making a profit,” Bolton said, “it has everything to do with making sure that the constitutional responsibilities that are accorded the different branches of government are carried out the right way.”
And Bolton said he believes the impeachment investigation should have been broader and included Trump’s conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“The president wasn’t shy in voicing the view of the Ukraine that that’s what he wanted. It turned out not to be a convictable impeachable offense, but it’s something the American people ought to take a look at,” Bolton said. “As they should the other examples. He focused on terms like China buying more agricultural products, which he said to Xi Jinping directly, would help him in the farm states. A really, to me, stunning statement by a president to the leader of an adversarial foreign country.”
For more on the Bolton interview go to abcnews.go.com.
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