President Trump’s former chief of staff, retired General John Kelly, told a Florida crowd Monday night that he believes the account of President Trump’s behavior outlined in former White House national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book.
In an excerpt “In The Room” obtained by the New York Times, Bolton reports that he personally witnessed Trump link the provision of $400 million in Ukrainian military aid to the opening of politically advantageous investigations.
“If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,” Kelly said, as first reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Kelly, who served in the White House from July 2017 to January 2019, also praised the former national security adviser.
“John’s an honest guy. He’s a man of integrity and great character . . . he always gave the president the unvarnished truth,” Kelly said.
Trump immediately denied discussing the quid pro quo with Bolton following the Times report and suggested that his former adviser was seeking to drum up sales of his book ahead of its March 17 release.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination,” the president tweeted early Monday morning. “If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”
Following the bombshell, moderate Republicans signaled willingness to subpoena Bolton, while more prominent Trump allies said they would also like to call Hunter Biden and the whistleblower.
Kelly said Monday that he thought witnesses should be called.
“If there are people that could contribute to this, either innocence or guilt … I think they should be heard,” Kelly stated.
The retired Marine general added that “some of the conversations seem to me to be very inappropriate, but I wasn’t there. But there are people that were there that ought to be heard from.”