Bolton Told Aide To Alert White House Lawyers About Trump's Ukraine Scheme
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton took serious issue with President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, meddling in foreign affairs related to Ukraine — going so far as to call the lawyer “a hand grenade,” according to The New York Times.
New information regarding internal discussions within the White House leading up to the president’s infamous July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was revealed during congressional testimony by former senior director for European and Russian affairs, Fiona Hill.
Though Hill left the White House shortly before Trump’s call with Zelensky, she was witness to key events leading up to the call, during which Trump asked the Ukrainian president for the “favor” of investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
That conversation, and events surrounding it, sparked a whistleblower complaint that now threatens Trump’s presidency, after House Democrats launched an official impeachment inquiry.
Hill testified for nine hours behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, The Times reported, and sources familiar with her remarks revealed a national security adviser who was not prepared to get mixed up in the White House’s Ukraine scheme.
Though her testimony did not establish a quid pro quo involving U.S. military aid to Ukraine, Hill “confirmed that the administration leveraged a coveted White House invitation for Mr. Zelensky to a commitment to investigate corruption, which was seen as code for investigating Democrats.”
She also recounted a meeting in Bolton’s office on July 10 involving EU ambassador Gordon Sondland, then-special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and two Ukrainian officials who were eager to schedule a meeting between Trump and Zelensky.
According to Hill’s testimony, Bolton was not prepared to set a date for the two leaders to meet, and upon becoming agitated, Sondland “let out that there was an agreement with Mr. Mulvaney that there would be a meeting if Ukraine opened up the investigations the White House was seeking.”
Hill said Bolton abruptly ended the meeting and sent her with Sondland and the others to another room where they would continue discussions, asking the aide to report back to him what transpired.
When she caught up with the group, Hill said Sondland was discussing Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company with which Biden’s son was involved.
At one point, after Hill told Sondland this was not an issue to be discussed in front of Ukrainian officials, the EU ambassador brought up Giuliani’s name.
Bolton, upon hearing Hill’s account of the meeting, “promptly instructed her to report the issue to John A. Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel and the chief legal adviser for the National Security Council, along with his line about the drug deal, which he meant metaphorically.”
“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and [White House chief of staff Mick]Mulvaney are cooking up,” he told Hill to relay to Eisenberg.