Rep. Mark Meadows (R-S.C.) said Monday that recent claims from John Bolton‘s forthcoming memoir were leaked as part of an effort to “manipulate” GOP senators to vote for witnesses as part of the ongoing impeachment trial.
Meadows, a staunch defender of President Trump, questioned the timing of the leaked manuscript, first reported by The New York times late Sunday, that bolstered Democrats’ push for Bolton to testify about the administration’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine, which Bolton says was tied directly to President Trump’s desire for Kyiv to announce investigations into his political opponents.
“My Republican colleagues in the Senate are going to make up their own minds on whether or not to call witnesses, but this leak was designed for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to try to manipulate the thinking of my Republican colleagues in the Senate to encourage them to open it up and provide for more witnesses,” Meadows told reporters.
He called out the timing of the report, as Trump’s defense team makes its opening arguments.
“Some have suggested that it was to sell more books. Some have suggested that indeed the leak was designed to create chaos,” Meadows said.
He added that it is “a pattern that my Democrat colleagues have embarked on when it was over in the House,” referring to the impeachment inquiry.
“They continue to leak out things trying to change the narrative so that you will write about it, so that the American people can get all worried about it, only to find out the facts later don’t necessarily support the accusations that were made,” he added.
The Times reported Sunday night that Bolton claims in his forthcoming memoir that Trump tied Ukraine aid to help with investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The allegations are at the heart of the impeachment trial.
After the allegations were reported, a couple of potential swing-vote Republicans signaled they may vote to compel witnesses.
A vote is expected later this week, and Democrats need at least four Republicans to vote in favor of the measure.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) said the reports on Bolton’s book “strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) similarly told reporters Monday it is “increasingly likely” additional GOP senators will support calling Bolton.
Bolton and his book publishers denied that there was any coordination with the Times.
“Ambassador John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, and Javelin Literary categorically state that there was absolutely no coordination with the New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book, THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED, at online booksellers,” Bolton, Simon & Schuster, and Javelin Literary said in a joint statement.