Tuesday, July 21, 2020

the last book I ever read (The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, excerpt sixteen)

from The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir by John Bolton:

Ukraine remained basically quiet as we awaited their first round of presidential elections on March 31, but other matters began coming to the fore. Trump had complained about our Ambassador Yovanovitch, for some time, noting to me on March 21 during a telephone call covering a number of subjects that she was “bad-mouthing us like crazy” and that her only concern was LGBTQ matters. “She is saying bad shit about me and about you,” he added, saying he wanted her fired “today.” I said I would call Pompeo, who was in the Middle East; I tried several times to reach him but didn’t because of meeting schedules and time-zone differences. After Principals Committees later that afternoon, I pulled Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan aside to convey Trump’s direction, so he could inform Pompeo. Sullivan knew Trump wanted Yovanovitch fired, so he understood that this repetition of Trump’s instruction was serious.

A few days later, on March 25, Trump called me to the Oval, but I found him in his small dining room with Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow (another of his private attorneys), obviously enjoying discussing the reaction to Mueller’s report on his Russia investigation. At this meeting, I learned Giuliani was the source of the stories about Yovanovitch, who he said was being protected by a Deputy Assistant Secretary in State’s European bureau, George Kent (I don’t think Giuliani knew Kent’s job title accurately; Pompeo clarified it for me later). Trump again said Yovanovitch should be fired immediately. I reached Pompeo by phone in the late afternoon to relay this latest news, now with the update that it came from Giuliani. Pompeo said he had spoken with Giuliani before, and there were no facts supporting any of his allegations, although Pompeo didn’t doubt that, like 90 percent of the Foreign Service, Yovanovitch probably voted for Clinton. He said she was trying to reduce corruption in Ukraine and may well have been going after some of Giuliani’s clients. Pompeo said he would call Giuliani again and then speak to Trump. The next morning, I called Trump about several matters and asked if he and Pompeo had spoken on Yovanovitch. They had not, but he repeated he was “tired of her bad-mouthing us” and her saying he would be impeached and the like. “Really bad,” said Trump. I called Pompeo about nine forty-five a.m. to report this conversation. He again protested that Giuliani’s allegations simply weren’t true and said he would call Trump. I mentioned this to Trump later in the day, just so he knew he wasn’t being ignored.

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