Bolton writes that he raised concerns about the two cases with Barr, who shared them. "Barr said he was very concerned about the appearances that Trump was creating," writes Bolton. Likewise, he recalls, Pat A. Cipollone, a White House lawyer, "was clearly surprised by Trump's approach to law enforcement, or the lack of it."
Just as Trump sought help from Ukraine against his domestic rivals, he also married his own political interests to politics during a meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting last summer in Osaka, Japan, according to the book. Xi told Trump that unnamed political figures in the United States were trying to start a new cold war with China.
"Trump immediately assumed that Xi was referring to Democrats," writes Bolton. “Trump said with approval that there was great hostility among Democrats. He then, surprisingly, turned the conversation on for the next US presidential election, alluding to China's economic ability to affect ongoing campaigns, begging Xi to ensure he won. "(Bolton says he would have printed Trump's exact words," but the government's pre-publication review process decided otherwise ".)
Robert Lighthizer, the president's commercial representative, denied on Wednesday that Trump sought electoral help from China during the meeting. "Absolutely false," he said when asked during a Senate hearing. "It never happened. I was there. I have no memory of it. I don't believe it's true."
At a daily news conference on Friday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, said that Chinese officials "have no intention and do not interfere in US internal affairs and elections".
Barr, for his part, denied Bolton's version of his conversations. "There was no discussion of" personal favors "or" undue influence "in the investigations, nor did Attorney General Barr say the president's conversations with foreign leaders were inappropriate," said Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokesman.
Bolton does not say that these were necessarily insurmountable offenses and adds that he does not know everything that happened in relation to all these episodes, but he reported at least some of them to Mr. Barr and Mr. Cipollone. They should have been investigated by the House, says Bolton, and at least they constituted abuses of a president's duty to put the nation's interests before his own.