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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton says in a manuscript of his forthcoming book that President Trump asked him in early May to ensure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would meet with Rudy Giuliani, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: If verified, Bolton's account marks the earliest known point that Trump asked his subordinates to begin to coordinate a push Ukraine to investigate the president's political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.

  • Bolton, who writes that he did not follow the order, says that Giuliani, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone were present for the directive. Cipollone is currently leading Trump's impeachment defense in the Senate.
  • The development "underscores the kind of information Democrats were looking for in seeking testimony from his top advisers in their impeachment investigation, including Mr. Bolton and Mr. Mulvaney, only to be blocked by the White House," the Times writes.

What they're saying:

  • Trump denied Bolton's claim in a statement to the Times: "I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of N.Y.C., to meet with President Zelensky. ... That meeting never happened."
  • In an interview with the Times, Giuliani called the account "absolutely, categorically untrue" and said Cipollone and Mulvaney were never involved in Ukraine-linked meetings.
  • Bolton and a representative for Mulvaney did not respond to the Times' request for comment.

Go deeper: Trump headed for fast acquittal

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.