The New York Times is out with more leaked details from John Bolton's upcoming memoir, and the latest involve his concerns about President Trump's dealings with the leaders of China and Turkey. What's more, Bolton alleges that Attorney General William Barr seemed to share those concerns. Bolton writes that he was worried Trump was being too chummy with autocratic leaders Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Xi Jinping and granting them what amounted to personal favors, per the Times. When he shared his concerns with Barr, the attorney general told him that he was worried Trump was leaving both leaders with the impression that Trump held sway over what should be independent inquiries.
- The Times' takeaway: "Bolton’s account underscores the fact that the unease about Mr. Trump’s seeming embrace of authoritarian leaders, long expressed by experts and his opponents, also existed among some of the senior cabinet officers entrusted by the president to carry out his foreign policy and national security agendas."
- Barr denies: "There was no discussion of ‘personal favors’ or ‘undue influence’ on investigations, nor did Attorney General Barr state that the President’s conversations with foreign leaders was improper,” says a Justice Department statement. “If this is truly what Mr. Bolton has written, then it seems he is attributing to Attorney General Barr his own current views—views with which Attorney General Barr does not agree.”
- Other allegation: The bigger story from the book is that Bolton alleges Trump directly tied Ukraine aid to investigations of the Bidens. But on Monday, Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz said that even if that's true, it's not impeachable, reports the Hill. “Let me repeat: Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense," he said. "You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like 'quid pro quo' and 'personal benefit.'"
(The Ukraine revelation is increasing calls for Bolton to be called as a witness
in the impeachment trial.)