John Bolton believed President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, which eventually led to his impeachment and acquittal, were being guided by “Ukraine fantasy conspiracy theories” largely pushed on him by Rudy Giuliani.
Bolton, who resigned as Trump’s national security adviser last year, finally revealed his thoughts on Trump, Ukraine, and the impeachment fight in his new book, The Room Where It Happened, a copy of which was provided to the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. Bolton offered to testify in the impeachment trial earlier this year only if the Republican-led Senate issued a subpoena against him, which the upper chamber declined to do. The Democrat-led House had asked Bolton to testify but, after he refused, declined to issue a subpoena to compel his testimony. To this day, Democrats have not forgiven Bolton for it.
The former national security adviser wrote that it was Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, who was the impetus behind many of Trump’s views on Ukraine, with Bolton referring to these as “Giuliani fantasies.” Bolton wrote that during a March 21 phone call, Trump complained to Bolton that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was allegedly “bad-mouthing us like crazy” and that Trump thought her only concern was gay rights issues, saying that “she is saying bad shit about me and about you” and that Trump wanted her fired “today.” It was on March 25, when Bolton met with Trump, Giuliani, and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow at a small White House dining room, when Bolton “learned Giuliani was the source of the stories about Yovanovitch.”
Bolton would return to the theme often throughout the book, which the Trump administration is frantically trying to stop in court from hitting bookshelves on Tuesday. Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Bolton is a "liar."
It was the July 25, 2019, call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and the subsequent whistleblower complaint about it, that would culminate in Democrat-led impeachment proceedings. In the call, immediately after Zelensky expressed interest in purchasing anti-tank weaponry known as Javelins from the United States, Trump asked Zelesnky "to do us a favor though,” to look into a CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and any possible Ukrainian election interference in 2016. Trump urged Zelensky later in the call to investigate “the other thing,” referring to allegations of corruption related to Joe and Hunter Biden, telling Zelensky to speak with Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr.
“These were, to me, the key remarks in the July 25 call that later raised so much attention, deservedly so, whether impeachable, criminal, or otherwise,” Bolton wrote. “When, in 1992, Bush 41 supporters suggested he ask foreign governments to help out in his failing campaign against Clinton, Bush and Jim Baker completely rejected the idea. Trump did the precise opposite.”