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Top Democrat plans to ask Bolton for information on Turkey probe after Bolton claims

Top Democrat plans to ask Bolton for information on Turkey probe after Bolton claims
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee plans to call on former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPence, other GOP officials expected to skip Trump send-off NSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order After insurrection: The national security implications MORE to provide information on his claim that President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE agreed to intervene in a federal investigation into a Turkish company at the request of Turkey’s president.

Bolton, in an upcoming book about his experience during the Trump administration, claims Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a memo to Trump in which he defended a firm from his country that was under investigation by the Southern District of New York for potential violations of Iranian sanctions.

Trump, according to a copy of the book seen by The Hill, agreed to "take care of things" and said the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York were "Obama people." The contents of Bolton's book were first reported by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

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Senator Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Yellen champions big spending at confirmation hearing Biden pick for Intel chief vows to release report on Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Ore.), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement that the book “confirms that Donald Trump attempted to interfere in a criminal investigation into the largest sanctions violations scheme in U.S. history as a favor” to Erdoğan. 

Wyden added that Bolton’s book provided “damning evidence” as he called on the former national security adviser to provide more information.

“I have been investigating potential political interference by Donald Trump as it relates to Turkey and sanctions enforcement, and this damning evidence corroborates what my investigation has uncovered to date,” Wyden wrote. “If John Bolton has an interest in serving his country, as opposed to selling books, he will respond promptly to my forthcoming request for more information about Donald Trump’s relationship with Turkey.”

The investigation relates to Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank, which was indicted by the Southern District of New York in October for allegedly funneling up to $20 billion to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Erdoğan and his son-in-law, who is Turkey’s finance minister, are identified as unnamed co-conspirators in the indictment.

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The Treasury Department had told Wyden in November that Trump had asked multiple federal agencies to address Erdoğan's "concerns" about the Halkbank investigation. 

Neither the Department of Justice nor a representative for Bolton immediately returned requests for comment.

Bolton's book includes a number of explosive claims, including that Trump solicited Chinese President Xi Jinping's assistance in winning reelection.