That noise you heard last night was a collective gulp from the Senate Republican caucus. The New York Times spoke to “multiple people” with access to the review manuscript from John Bolton’s unpublished memoirs, and … suffice it to say that the situation around witness subpoenas looks a little more complicated. The memoir apparently states that Donald Trump did indeed plan to use the Ukraine aid as leverage for investigations into the Bidens, or at least that’s how the NYT’s sources describe it:
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to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.
Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.
Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.
Two more people with access to the book offered the same description of it to the Washington Post. And while Bolton’s reps sounded very annoyed about the leak, they are pointedly not contradicting the reporting around it. Instead, they sound concerned that the White House will think that Bolton leaked it deliberately: