Waiting for Bolton: A Capital Speculates on What He Will Say

But some Democrats warn that they cannot be sure what he will say once he sits for an interview. “You just can’t work from assumptions,” said Representative Mike Quigley, Democrat of Illinois and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “I don’t know what he had. I don’t know if he has value. I don’t know if he is willing to talk about it.”

The president’s defenders dismiss the idea that Mr. Bolton could hurt Mr. Trump. “I don’t care what Bolton says,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of the president’s, said on Fox News on Thursday. If the Ukrainians did not know the president had held up their aid when he was pressing them to investigate Democrats, Mr. Graham said, there is no impeachable offense. “You can’t have a crime unless you have a victim. There is no victim here.”

Democrats disagree with that logic, saying it can still be an impeachable offense to pressure a foreign power to provide dirt on a political opponent regardless of when the Ukrainians knew about the suspension of the assistance. Moreover, The New York Times, citing interviews and documents, reported that in fact word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level Ukrainian officials by the first week in August, earlier than previously known.

Mr. Bolton has hired Charles J. Cooper, one of Washington’s best-known lawyers and a colleague and friend since the Reagan administration, when Mr. Cooper was an assistant attorney general. Mr. Cooper, whose firm’s motto is “victory or death,” also represented former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, another Trump adviser who fell out with the president.

According to testimony presented so far, Mr. Bolton bristled at efforts by Mr. Giuliani to bypass the national security process as he pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a conspiracy theory that Ukrainians, not Russians, intervened in the 2016 election, and did so to boost Democrats, not Republicans. Mr. Trump’s former homeland security adviser repeatedly told the president that the theory had been “completely debunked.”

Mr. Bolton met on July 10 with Ukrainian officials and Gordon D. Sondland, a political appointee serving as ambassador to the European Union, who was working with Mr. Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on the issue. When the investigations came up, Mr. Bolton grew so irritated that he abruptly ended the meeting, according to Fiona Hill, his former top Europe and Russia adviser.

Ms. Hill testified that Mr. Bolton told her to report what was going on to a White House lawyer. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” he told her to tell the lawyer. She also testified that, on an earlier occasion, Mr. Bolton said, “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

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