• Bolton had an acrimonious parting with Trump and it's still unclear whether he resigned or was fired
  • Bolton, a hardliner, opposed Trump's effort to cozy up to Russia
  • Trump denies he ever explicitly tied military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of Joe Biden although he admits he asked Ukraine to launch such an inquiry

Update: 1:25 p.m. EST

President Trump said Monday he had not see a copy of John Bolton's book but he doesn't need to.

“I haven't seen the manuscript, but I can tell you nothing was ever said to John Bolton, but I have not seen a manuscript. I guess he is writing a book. I have not seen it," Trump told reporters.

Update 11:45 a.m. EST

Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Monday revelations from former national security adviser John Bolton’s book make it more likely witnesses will be called for President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.

“From the beginning, I’ve said that in fairness to both parties the decision on whether or not to call witnesses should be made after both the House managers and the president’s attorneys have had the opportunity to present their cases,” Collins said in a statement. “I’ve always said that I was likely to vote to call witnesses, just as I did in the 1999 Clinton trial. The reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.”

Romney earlier said it’s “important to be able to hear from John Bolton for us to be able to make an impartial judgment.”

A group of Democratic senators began an ad campaign, accusing five GOP senators of “rigging the impeachment trial” and violating their oath of office. The campaign targets Sens. Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

“Senate Republicans have broken their oath of impartiality and their promise to the American people by playing along with Mitch McConnell’s cover-up,” Senate Majority PAC President J.B. Poersch said in the news release. “By refusing to get the facts and demand a fair trial from the onset, Senate Republicans are putting party politics over principle.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., characterized Bolton’s comments as a “lightening bolt” and said a subpoena should be issued for the manuscript of his forthcoming book.

Original story

President Trump Monday disputed former national security adviser John Bolton’s reported statements on Ukraine aid, saying he “never complained about this at the time of his very public termination.”

The New York Times reported Sunday in a draft of Bolton’s forthcoming book, which was turned over to the White House for vetting, the hardliner who resisted closer ties to Russia says Trump specifically tied $391 million in military aid to Ukraine to investigations into Democrats – the accusations at the heart of the impeachment charges lodged against the president.

The revelation came as Trump’s defense team was poised to open its first full day of arguments before the Senate, hoping to avoid a vote that would open the way for new witnesses to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial. Trump has ordered key administration officials not to testify. Bolton, however, has said he is willing. Democrats laid out their case last week.

Bolton attorney Charles Cooper said he gave a copy of the book to the White House Dec. 30 to be reviewed for classified information, giving the White House insight into what Bolton likely would say.

“I never told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats including the Bidens,” Trump tweeted, referring to former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination and his son, Hunter. “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.”

Testimony during the House impeachment investigation indicated Bolton characterized Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine as a “drug deal.”

The president said transcripts of his two phone calls with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is all the evidence anyone needs to decide whether Trump should be removed from office. During a July 25 call, Trump specifically asks Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. He also mentions U.S. support of Ukraine but never makes an explicit threat to withhold aid unless an investigation is announced. At the time, aid to Ukraine had been frozen and was not released until the day after Bolton left his position.

Trump also complained Democrats never asked Bolton to testify during the House impeachment investigation. Impeachment managers said last week the lengthy court battle that would have ensued because of Trump’s order would have delayed the impeachment process indefinitely. At the time, Bolton said he would testify only if a court ordered him to do so. He reversed that position after the impeachment articles were approved.