- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2020

Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday denied the allegations against President Trump in former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton’s upcoming book, saying the claims are “factually false.”

“The excerpts that I have seen have been factually false,” Mr. Mulvaney, now the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, said on CNN Friday. “I think it’s John‘s, sort of, whimsical spin on what actually happened at the meeting.”

In his upcoming book “The Room Where It Happened,” which is set for release on Tuesday, Mr. Bolton claims Mr. Trump pushed the importance of agricultural trade on his reelection campaign to Chinese President Xi Jinping and praised China’s plan to build “concentration camps.”

Mr. Mulvaney couldn’t comment on the issue of concentration camps — and argued Mr. Bolton couldn’t either since it was a private conversation — but said neither he nor Secretary of State Mike Pompeo nor Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin remembers what their former colleague alleged.

“Did the president talk about the Chinese buying more American soybeans and other agricultural products? Yes, he did that probably every time he talked to President Xi,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “Would selling American agriculture products be good for the country and thus, good for the president’s reelection chances, yes. … But to put those two factually true statements together to make it look like the President is begging China for help, that’s bizarre.”

He argued that Mr. Bolton should have raised his concerns at the time, if he had any, and to raise them now was opportunistic to benefit his book sales.

Most political leaders across the political spectrum in Washington agree on that latter point.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, slammed Mr. Bolton as opportunistic and “arrogant” for speaking out now rather than cooperating with the impeachment investigation.

Mr. Bolton’s allegations made him a key player in the impeachment case against Mr. Trump in January, as the earliest leaks reportedly asserted Mr. Trump told him military aid to Ukraine was being blocked until that country turned over information on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, a political rival, and on whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

Those claims were at the center of Democrats’ case, which accused Mr. Trump of using military aid to leverage Ukraine into opening investigations into Mr. Biden, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Senate Democrats used Mr. Bolton’s information to ramp up pressure on vulnerable Senate Republicans to support their push for key witnesses, which did not succeed.

Democrats received criticism for not pursuing a subpoena for Mr. Bolton, who said he would not cooperate with the House, in order to proceed quickly in the impeachment process.

Mr. Mulvaney was another key witness in the impeachment process, though he also refused to testify. He also inadvertently fanned the flames of the inquiry by linking the nearly $400 million in delayed military aid for Ukraine to the administration’s desire for an investigation into the 2016 election and whether DNC servers were located in the country.

He later walked back his remarks and claimed the news media misconstrued them to further their own narrative.

On Friday, he denied all of the testimony given by several former and current administration officials during the impeachment investigation, arguing they were disgruntled employees.

“Do I believe those who testified [in the impeachment inquiry] had an ax to grind against the president? I do,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “Do I believe that all of them said things that are provably false? Yes, I do.”

Mr. Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the House, but acquitted of all charges in the Senate — both on stark party-line votes.

The Trump defense team rallied against the allegations in Mr. Bolton’s book, arguing they were unconfirmed and a desperate, last-minute ploy to undermine the president’s case.

The White House is now arguing Mr. Bolton violated the law by going forward with publishing a book with classified information. The Justice Department is seeking a restraining order to block the book’s release.

Mr. Pomepo has joined the administration in condemning Mr. Bolton and his new book, calling him a “traitor” in a statement late Thursday evening.

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