According to The Daily Beast, John Bolton and his aides tried to go around President Donald Trump's "three amigos" — E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry — to mitigate the damage of the scheme to use military aid to extort Ukraine into providing dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden's family.
"In the days following a July meeting at the White House, senior officials in the National Security Council reached out to their Ukrainian counterparts in an effort ... to establish a direct line of communication with Kyiv, according to officials in both the U.S. and Ukraine," reported national security journalist Erin Blanco.
Specifically, she wrote, "Charles Kupperman, President Donald Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, contacted Ukrainian officials close to President Volodymyr Zelensky via telephone in mid-July after a tumultuous meeting at the White House in which Sondland told the Kyiv representatives that they would need to launch certain domestic investigations in exchange for a presidential meet in Washington, according to three officials familiar with the matter. Kupperman was not the only official to reach out, the sources said."
Bolton, who was forced out as National Security Adviser around the time of the Ukraine scheme, was reportedly outraged by the backchannel being set up by Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to circumvent normal foreign policy protocol, describing it as a "drug deal."
Despite this, Bolton has resisted all efforts to bring him in for testimony in the impeachment inquiry.