Trump disputes Bolton bombshell book, tweets he 'NEVER' linked investigations, Ukraine aid

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: National Security Advisor John Bolton adjusts his glasses as U.S. Pr
National Security Advisor John Bolton adjusts his glasses as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office, April 2, 2019.   -   Copyright  Joshua Roberts Reuters file

President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that he "NEVER" told former national security adviser John Bolton that the hold on nearly $400 million in military aid was tied to investigations of Democrats after it was reported Bolton insisted as much in an upcoming book.

"I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens," Trump wrote. "In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book."

"The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify," Trump added, though the House asked but did not subpoena Bolton for testimony. "It is up to them, not up to the Senate!"

According to a manuscript of Bolton's book, obtained by The New York Times and not seen by NBC News, Trump told Bolton in August that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would not be released until it provided all of the information it had in connection to the investigations of Democrats that the president sought. One month earlier, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democrats.

Trump and allies have said the investigations and aid were not linked, though acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said late last year that the aid was linked to an investigation of so-called Ukrainian electoral interference in 2016. Mulvaney later walked back those remarks.

The Times report cited multiple sources familiar with Bolton's account and the contents of his manuscript were described as roughly how the former national security adviser would testify before the Senate if called. At least four Republicans need to vote in favor of additional witness testimony for that to happen.

In the yet-to-be-published book, Bolton reportedly writes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed a belief that Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was acting on behalf of other private clients in Ukraine. Bolton also said he expressed concerns about Giuliani's involvement in a shadow Ukraine policy to Attorney General William Barr after Trump's July phone call.

Giuliani tweeted Monday in response to the Bolton book, tagging Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and saying there was "no way in the world" Trump would tie investigations and aid in a conversation with Bolton.

"It's a shame that a man will sacrifice his integrity to make a few bucks on a book," Giuliani added. "No wonder he accomplished so little as National Security Advisor."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted that the "refusal of the Senate to call for" Bolton, "other relevant witnesses, and documents is now even more indefensible."

Trump has suggested he would block Bolton's testimony. Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week, Trumpsaid Bolton's testimony would present "a national security problem."