‘I believe John Bolton’: Former White House Chief of Staff says he finds Bolton’s assertions on Trump and Ukraine to be totally credible
This week, one of the silliest talking points that President Donald Trump’s sycophants and loyalists have been repeating in right-wing media is that former National Security Adviser John Bolton should be ignored because he is nothing more than a bitter and disgruntled ex-employee. But not all Republicans and conservatives are reflexively turning against Bolton, and former White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly told a crowd in Sarasota, Florida this week that he believes what Bolton has to say about Trump and the Ukraine scandal.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that in a leaked manuscript of his new book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” (due out March 17), Bolton alleges that Trump tied military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. House Democrats have been asserting that Trump and his allies had a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine: a Bidens investigation in exchange for military aid — and Bolton, according to the Times, alleges in his book that this “quid pro quo” was a fact.
It remains to be seen whether or not Bolton will testify during Trump’s impeachment trial: while Bolton has said that he’s willing to testify if subpoenaed, Senate Republicans may or may not vote to feature witnesses. But the 69-year-old Kelly would clearly like to see Bolton testify. Speaking at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall lecture series in Sarasota on Monday, Kelly said of Bolton’s allegation, “If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton.”
Bolton, Kelly told the crowd, “always gave the president the unvarnished truth” and is a “man of integrity and great character.”
“I mean, half of Americans think this process is purely political and shouldn’t be happening,” Kelly asserted. “But since it is happening, the majority of Americans would like to hear the whole story.”
Kelly went on to tell the crowd, “So, I think if there are people that could contribute to this, either innocence or guilt.... I think they should be heard. I think some of the conversations seem to me to be very inappropriate, but I wasn’t there. But there are people that were there that ought to be heard from.”
Kelly, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, served in more than one position in the Trump Administration — first as secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), followed by his months as White House chief of staff from July 2017-January 2019. But Kelly’s relationship with Trump soured. And like Bolton, he left the Trump Administration under what Kaitlan Collins and Chandelis Duster of CNN describe as “contentious circumstances.”