Bolton: Yeah, Trump Tried to Extort Ukraine

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The big news from last night is that someone leaked an important bit from John Bolton’s upcoming book. Here is the New York Times:

President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

….Over dozens of pages, Mr. Bolton described how the Ukraine affair unfolded over several months until he departed the White House in September. He described not only the president’s private disparagement of Ukraine but also new details about senior cabinet officials who have publicly tried to sidestep involvement.

There are all sorts of questions about this. White House officials had a copy of the manuscript in order to review it for classified information, and Bolton’s lawyer blames them for the leak. But why? Other people had copies too.

And why was Bolton keeping this a secret? Was he really hoping that it wouldn’t become public until after the impeachment hearings were over? Again, why?

And if it was the White House who leaked this, what motivation did they have? This hurts President Trump, since it makes it more likely that the Senate will agree to call witnesses later this week. Or did the leak come from someone inside the White House who doesn’t like Trump?

And why did the leak take so long? The White House has had Bolton’s book for weeks.

And the phrase “Democrats including the Bidens” implies that there are other Democrats that Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate. Who are they?

It’s all very strange. Maybe Bolton managed the leak to maximize publicity for his book. Or maybe it was all just some strange confluence of events. Stay tuned.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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