Trump tweets that he 'never' told John Bolton that Ukraine aid was tied to investigations

  • President Donald Trump denied a bombshell report that claimed he told former national security adviser John Bolton about a quid pro quo that involved withholding military aid to Ukraine.

  • Trump was impeached last month on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his alleged pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into a political rival.

  • The New York Times reported that Bolton's upcoming book presents a starkly different version of events than what the White House has described throughout the impeachment process.

President Donald Trump denied that he told former national security adviser John Bolton about withholding military aid until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to pursue investigations into Trump's political rivals.

The New York Times obtained an unpublished manuscript of Bolton's book and reported Sunday that Bolton writes that Trump asked the Office of Management and Budget to extend a nearly month-long hold on $391 million in military aid to Ukraine.

Hours after the report was published, Trump took to Twitter to deny that characterization, dismissing the claim as a way "to sell a 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."

Trump was impeached last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The inquiry and vote by House lawmakers focused on Trump's apparent efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, in addition to a debunked conspiracy theory involving Ukraine and interference to the 2016 election.

In subsequent tweets, Trump went on to claim that he had released the aid to Ukraine "without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule."

The release came after national news reports surfaced describing the freeze, and not all of the expected $391 million in assistance was distributed before the end of the fiscal year.

A lawyer for Bolton said after the Times report that the manuscript was taken to the White House to be reviewed for classified information, but that process had been "corrupted."

The Times report came as the impeachment trial is ramping up in the Senate, where lawmakers will vote later this week on whether to subpoena witnesses.

Bolton has said he has relevant information to the issues being weighed by lawmakers and that he would comply with a Senate subpoena to testify, but Trump has said he would seek to invoke executive privilege and block aspects of Bolton's testimony, which could possibly be out of reach for the president.

Bolton's book, titled "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," is set for release by Simon & Schuster on March 17, 2020.