BOLTON: Well, he directly linked the provision of that assistance with the investigation. My objective here, people in the aftermath, in light of the impeachment investigation thought that those of us like Pompeo and [Mark] Esper and myself should have been sort of junior woodchuck FBI agents looking for evidence of impeachable offenses.
What we were all tryin’ to do was get the assistance released to the Ukraine. Because it was in America’s interests to do so. We’d worry about the Biden thing later. And I told the White House counsel, I told the Justice Department about these conversations. That’s what I thought I should do. Because I was very concerned about them. But my objective as national security advisor was to carry out the president’s own policy since he had agreed to the legislation to get this assistance sent.
RADDATZ: Back to the Aug. 20 conversation. What exactly do you remember him saying?
BOLTON: Well, I lay out in the book my recollection of the sentence. But the linkage, the specificity of the linkage, I think, was unmistakable.
RADDATZ: He said in the book, he said he wasn’t in favor of sending them anything until all the Russia investigation materials related to Clinton and Biden had been turned over.
RADDATZ: So this was not the first time you heard the president himself directly link the investigation and the Ukraine aid? Or was it?
BOLTON: No. There were other conversations, some of which involved Rudy Giuliani, or references to Rudy Giuliani or others — where this connection was becoming clear. The conversation in August was the crispest indication of the linkage. But indirectly, and by clear implication, it had been growing for quite some time.
RADDATZ: The New York Times reported on that August conversation. And the president denied it, tweeting, “I never told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens.” Is the president lying?
BOLTON: Yes he is. And it’s not the first time, either.