Trump refuses to answer questions in NY probe, as US alleges Iranian plotted to kill Bolton

Trump added, “When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice.”

In the statement, Trump also made disparaging comments about James and violent crime in New York state.

Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday.Credit:AP

Trump attempted to link the state attorney general’s investigation to Monday’s FBI search of his Florida home Mar-a-Lago, which represented an escalation in a federal probe into whether he illegally removed records from the White House as he left office in January 2021.

Trump agreed in June to testify in the three-year investigation, but only after court decisions rejecting his argument that he should not have to do so because the probe was politically motivated.

Plot to murder Bolton

The US Justice Department charged Shahram Poursafi, a member of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, with plotting to murder former national security adviser to Trump, John Bolton.

Former national security adviser John Bolton speaks at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in 2019.

Former national security adviser John Bolton speaks at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in 2019.Credit:AP

It alleged that Poursafi, also known as Mehdi Rezayi, 45, of Tehran, was likely motivated to kill Bolton in retaliation for the death of Qassem Soleimani, a commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps killed in a US drone strike in January 2020.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iran does not have an extradition treaty with the USs, and Poursafi remains at large. The FBI released a most-wanted poster.

According to the criminal complaint, Poursafi asked a US resident identified only as “Individual A” to take photographs of Bolton, under the guise that the photos were needed for a forthcoming book. The US resident then introduced Poursafi to a covert government informant who could take the photographs for a price.

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Investigators said the following month Poursafi contacted the informant on an encrypted messaging application and offered the person $US250,000 ($352,000) to hire someone to “eliminate” Bolton – an amount that would later be negotiated up to $300,000.

When the informant asked Poursafi to be more specific in his request, he said he wanted “the guy” purged, and he provided Bolton’s first and last name, according to a sworn statement in support of the complaint.

He later directed the informant to open a cryptocurrency account to facilitate the payment. In subsequent communications, he allegedly told the informant it did not matter how the killing was carried out, but that his “group” would require a video as proof that the deed was done.

In a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, Bolton thanked the Justice Department for taking action.

“While much cannot be said publicly right now, one point is indisputable,” he said. “Iran’s rulers are liars, terrorists and enemies of the US.”

The State Department had no immediate comment on whether the decision to charge Poursafi was in any way linked to US diplomacy seeking to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Reuters

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