Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) blew up President Donald Trump’s claims that John Bolton kept his concerns about Ukraine to himself.
The New York Democrat, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, revealed Wednesday that Bolton urged him “unprompted” in September to look into the ousting of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this “nonsense” a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated. He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020
Engel said his staff reached out to Bolton Sept. 19, about a week after he was pushed out as national security adviser, to ask if he would testify before the committee, as former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had after his tenure.
Bolton and Engel spoke by phone Sept. 23 — two days before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry — and Bolton strongly implied something improper had taken place around Yovanovitch’s removal from her diplomatic post in Kyiv.
“At the time I said nothing publicly about what was a private conversation, but because this detail was relevant to the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight Committees’ investigation into this matter, I informed my investigative colleagues,” Engel said. “It was one of the reasons we wished to hear from Ambassador Bolton, under oath, in a formal setting.”
Although Bolton appeared to support the investigation the House had already undertaken into the president’s Ukraine scheme, he refused to appear before the impeachment inquiry when invited.
Engel said he wanted to set the record straight now that Trump was calling Bolton’s credibility into question, and said it was “telling” that the staunchly conservative Republican was now the “target of right-wing ire.”
BREAKING: Rep. ENGEL reveals that BOLTON called him in September and told him to look into the Marie Yovanovitch ouster.
The committees had already started an investigation into Ukraine matters, but Bolton appears to have supported their effort. >>> pic.twitter.com/a54uwGKkaL
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 29, 2020