Bolton manuscript details president's efforts for Zelensky to meet with Giuliani

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The goal of the meeting, according to Bolton, was for Giuliani to pressure Zelensky to help Trump in digging up dirt on one of his main Democratic opponents ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden.

Mr Trump accused her of disloyalty and referred to her as "bad news" in a now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy - the focus of a subsequent impeachment trial against him.

President Trump on Friday denied he ever told former national security adviser John Bolton to pave the way for Rudy Giuliani to meet with Ukraine's president.

According to The Times, Trump asked Bolton during a meeting in May - shortly after Zelensky was elected - to call Zelensky to ensure he would meet with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer.

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Bolton argued that former and current officials, including acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, National Security Council member Alexander Vindman, and fired U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, were right to tell lawmakers what they knew about President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

The Times advanced the story further this afternoon, with a new report on Bolton's book in which he says the president first directed him to help with the illegal scheme in May.

"You may be a material witness to the charges against President Trump, even though you are also his advocate", they wrote. Some accuse Bolton of initiating the leak prior to submitting the manuscript to the White House for review, though he denies the allegation. She could not be immediately reached for comment, and the State Department did not return calls and messages seeking comment Friday night. "I mean, I'm a private person", Yovanovitch said. "All 20 emails are being withheld", the agency's Freedom of Information Act officer said in a terse letter in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York Times.

Trump and Giuliani's efforts to pressure Ukraine into delivering dirt on the Bidens and Burisma make up the center of Congress' impeachment proceedings against Trump. Trump's defenders have tried to frame the request as the president's concern over corruption in Ukraine.

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