John Bolton may lack the courage of Marie Yovanovitch, Jennifer Williams, Fiona Hill, or Alex Vindman. But he learned the art of bureaucratic murder from the master, Dick Cheney. And so it is that after the President’s lawyers have already laid out their defense, it magically happened that NYT learned the damning details about Ukraine in the draft of Bolton’s book that would make his testimony in the impeachment trial monumental.
Apparently, the book describes:
- In an August meeting about releasing the aid, Trump said he didn’t want to release it until Ukraine sent all documents pertaining to Biden and Hillary
- Mike Pompeo knew Rudy’s allegations about Marie Yovanovitch were false and believed Rudy may have been working for other clients when he floated them
- Bolton told Bill Barr that he was mentioned in the call in July; Barr has claimed he only learned that in August
- Contrary to Mick Mulvaney’s claims, the Chief of Staff was present on at least one call with Rudy
- Bolton, Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper counseled Trump to releasee the aid almost a dozen times
The details I most relish — not least because Dick Cheney hurt the country using his bureaucratic skills but included none of them in his autobiographical novel — are there bureaucratic details.
Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates.
White House officials … said he took notes that he should have left behind when he departed the administration.
Bolton has notes. And “close associates” of his have drafts of the manuscript.
Bill Barr may be sending FBI agents out to pick up Bolton’s notes as they went to pick up Jim Comey’s memos detailing Trump’s damning behavior, but at this point, I think Bolton could instead send them to NARA to comply with the Presidential Records Act. And if Barr goes after Bolton, I assume his friends will release the drafts.
Plus, there are several other ways this can get out. Bolton has just won himself an invitation to testify to SDNY about Rudy (and Pompeo may have as well). The House could go after Bolton for investigations of everyone else he implicated — Pompeo, Barr, Mulvaney — all of whom deserve to be impeached themselves.
Already, a significant majority of voters want the Senate to call witnesses like Bolton. Now, if they don’t so they can acquit, it will make this a bigger story going forward.