President Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly said he “believes” John Bolton, who claims in his upcoming book that Trump personally told him he wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until its government investigated his political rivals. “If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,” the retired general said on Monday during a lecture at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall in Sarasota, Florida. Kelly also told the crowd that he supports calling witnesses during the impeachment trial. “Every single time I was with him ... he always gave the president the unvarnished truth,” Kelly said of Bolton, whose claims are in direct opposition to a key element of the president’s impeachment defense—that the nearly $400 million military aid freeze was not connected with his requests that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Details from Bolton’s book were revealed on Sunday by The New York Times based on an unpublished manuscript.
President Trump has vehemently denied Bolton’s assertions, saying, “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” he tweeted, adding, “If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.” Democrats have called for Bolton to testify in the impeachment inquiry, a demand GOP leaders have strongly resisted.