Trump's own former chief of staff breaks with the president — says he believes Bolton
As Democrats push to have former National Security Adviser John Bolton testify for President Donald Trump's Senate trial — testimony that is expected to be devastating for the president's case based on reports about a memoir manuscript he wrote — an old ally of the commander in chief is breaking with the White House's line.
While Trump has denied Bolton's reported claims that the president engaged in a direct aid-for-investigations quid pro quo with Ukraine, former White House Chief of Staff John Bolton said publicly Monday evening that he believes Bolton.
“If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said.
He made the remarks at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall in Sarasota, Florida, as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
Asked about the passages in Bolton’s book — which has yet to be released — that appear to reinforce the impeachment allegations, Kelly said Monday evening that “John’s an honest guy. He’s a man of integrity and great character, so we’ll see what happens.” Kelly ended his answer by saying he believes Bolton.
There are growing calls for Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, something GOP leaders have resisted. Kelly said he supports calling witnesses during the trial.
“I mean half of Americans think this process is purely political and shouldn’t be happening but since it is happening the majority of Americans would like to hear the whole story,” Kelly said.
“So I think if there are people that could contribute to this, either innocence or guilt ... I think they should be heard,” Kelly said, adding: “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.”
Bolton hasn't directly confirmed the contents of his book, but in raising concerns about how it was publicized, his representatives haven't challenged the accuracy of the reports.
Trump has flatly denied Bolton's reported claims:
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. I… https://t.co/iB7tF2cr44— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1580102313.0
But, in this very series of tweets, Trump also blatantly lied. He said he "released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule." This is totally false. The aid was substantially delayed, in violation of the law according to the Government Accountability Office, and a significant portion of it wasn't even released by the legally required deadline.
So even putting aside Trump's history of unprecedented lying, the president's own denial of Bolton's claims is on its face completely lacking in credibility.