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Lighthizer denies Bolton claim that Trump asked Xi for election help

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerBob LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE on Wednesday denied a claim by former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonRepublicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Trump pushes back on Bolton poll Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions MORE that President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for help winning the 2020 election.

"Absolutely untrue. Never happened. I was there. I have no recollection of that ever happening. I don't believe it's true. I don't believe it ever happened," Lighthizer said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

Less than an hour earlier, The Washington Post ran an excerpt from Bolton's upcoming book, in which the former Trump administration official claims that Trump made the request for electoral help from Xi during a one-on-one meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Japan in June 2019.

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Trump, Bolton wrote, turned the conversation to "China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win."

“He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise,” the excerpt in the Post read.

Lighthizer said he was at the meeting in question and disputed Bolton's account.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who asked Lighthizer for his account, said he hoped to verify whether Trump's alleged comments came at the same meeting.

"I assume it's the same meeting, and if it's not, I assume we'll find out because if it's true, it shows how clear it is that the administration doesn't really have any intention of actually solving our trade problems with China," Menendez said.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Senate Finance Committee to consider clean energy legislation this month Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (Ore.), the committee's top Democrat, said he would be sending Lighthizer a list of written questions on the matter to be answered within a week given the "disturbing" nature of the allegations in the report.