Dick Cheney’s Apprentice Strikes

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.

[snip]

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.

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130 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    The leak of Bolton’s book manuscript was fairly predictable, given Bolton’s DC experience and Trump’s lack thereof. The only question was when this would get dumped. Since Bolton apprenticed under a master, the arrival of this tonight on the eve of the Trump Defenders presentation to the Senate is similarly not surprising.

    Something tells me that Cipollone, Sekulow, Derschewitz, Starr, and Partners will be up rather late tonight.

      • e.a.f. says:

        Why let them off so easy? A migraine for 3 days, you can deal with that and go to the office. Once had one which went on for 3 months. Let them have one of those. Then perhaps there might be a little pay back for what they do.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Whats’s good for the goose…

      It’s too early to assume that this is the beginning of the end. but I’m following EW’s lead and relishing in the irony of the pupil coming into his own.

      Sing it: “I will turn your face to alabaster, when you find your servant is your master.”

      • e.a.f. says:

        Every Breath You Take, was a big hit for The Police. Perhaps some one will gasp and quit breathing over some of this………..o.k. that isn’t nice, but

    • Zinsky says:

      Peterr – I doubt Trump’s legal team will be up that late tonight. In addition to be incredibly dishonest and lacking in self-awareness, like Trump, I think they are lazy too, like so many conservatives. Trump is a lazy slug – watching FoxNews most of the day, not reading anything and talking on the phone to acquaintances and calling that work. Lazy ass waste of good oxygen!!!!

    • JKSF says:

      Up late? Not the Constitution fluffers Dersh and Starr. Their cameos are over. The money is deposited in the bank, and they are galloping out of Dodge City.

  2. John Forde says:

    The most delicious aspect is that Bill Barr is now behind the curve. Information is spreading faster than he can create containment.

  3. John Forde says:

    For Republican Senators the issue is framed as a simple binary acquit or convict. I would like to figure out how to make a sub frame unavoidable to them; If you vote to acquit, how long will the cover-up hold?
    6 years?
    6 months?
    6 weeks?
    6 days?

    • Tom R. says:

      How long will the coverup hold AFTER the end of the trial?? AFTER???? The way things are going, that’s a negative number.

      It’s like an old-timey movie, where the defense team’s train is heading for a trestle that has started to crumble. Rather than trying to stop, they are speeding up, hoping to get across before it completely disintegrates.

      Bolton is busy playing Jenga with the trestle.

      It would be in character for the defendant to “get ahead of the story” by tweeting something deeply self-incriminating before breakfast tomorrow.

      The long-term magic number is 20, which still seems out of reach. However, the short-term magic number is 4, to win the vote for documents and witnesses. That will damage the defense somewhat, but not fatally. Cipollone has shown he can ignore a mountain of evidence; he can ignore two or three mountains just as easily.

      It all comes down to popular opinion. Pelosi and Schiff pay lip service to that, but they never DO anything about it. They are presenting a legal case while the other side is staging a PR spectacle. It makes no sense.

      They spent years sucking their thumbs hoping Mueller would do their job for them. Now they are hoping Bolton will do their job for them. That’s not a winning strategy. That’s not a strategy at all.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        Agreed. Months ago I replied to one of Pelosi’s fundraising/polling emails and said, “I’m not giving you any money until you impeach.” So they’re impeaching. But they’re not really impeaching, not really doing the work as it should be done. They’re cynically checking a box on their todo list so people like me will give them $20. But they failed to reckon with the possibility that I might be cynical too, and I can see right through their cheapass, faux-enthusiastic ploy. My total contributions to the Democratic Party are $0.00.

        But I gave Brand New Congress $50.00 bucks.

  4. Dave says:

    Can, should, the house managers or Dems, force WH counsel to disclose whether they have seen the manuscript tomorrow morning, would seem critical?

      • Rugger9 says:

        Apparently there is some question time after the presentations and I did see some flotsam on the internet saying that Pam Bondi wanted to call Schiff as a witness. If the managers get a chance to speak I can’t see how they won’t refer to it, or Nadler may start another impeachment inquiry over these revelations. If the GOP doesn’t like it, tough, since that’s what they were doing to Obama (without impeaching him) death bu a thousand inquiry cuts like Benghazi. As is typical for Republicans, that inquiry showed nothing except how the GOP budgeting created the shortage of security and no recovery of assets (like Manafort paid for Mueller) or any indictments much less the pleas, convictions and indictments Mueller pulled off in spite of Palace resistance.

  5. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    Bravo! Bet that Bolton will bring the best bits of his book that bite Bill Barr’s buttocks. (Not sure why I did that. )

    My question: who is Bolton’s attorney?

  6. P J Evans says:

    Schiff has comments:
    https://twitter.com/RepAdamSchiff/status/1221587570095722497

    The President blocked our request for Bolton’s testimony.

    Now we see why:

    Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President’s defense.

    If the trial is to be fair, Senators must insist that Mr. Bolton be called as a witness, and provide his notes and other documents.

    >https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1221571042159878146
    The New York Times @nytimes

    Breaking News: President Trump said he wanted to keep aid to Ukraine frozen until its officials helped him with investigations into Democrats, John Bolton wrote in an unpublished manuscript of a new book https://nyti.ms/2vk9mjq

    • P J Evans says:

      dang, I borked the second blockquote tag – it needs the left angle bracket. The entire Times quote is a quote inside Schiff’s tweet.

      • P J Evans says:

        Thanks muchly!

        Whiskey Tango-Foxtrot
        1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
        1/2 oz Aguardiente Cristal
        1/2 tsp bar syrup
        Three dashes of orange bitters
        Juice of one tangelo
        Combine ingredients and pour over crushed ice. Garnish with mango.

        squirrel hiller
        Before we get to the tea list here’s the recipe for the “Fitzgerald Hammer of Justice” concocted by Bustedknuckles with a suggestion from Blank Kludge
        1 shot 151 rum
        1 shot Grenadine
        1 shot Crown Royal (: substitute John Jameson’s Irish whiskey for the ‘Crown Royal’…he’s fighting against the monarchy after all.)
        orange juice to taste
        served over crushed ice with a pillow on the side.
        When you are good and hammered, use the pillow

  7. dude says:

    How can the Dems work this into their Q&A on the Senate floor after His Majesty’s lawyers present their defense? I assume the Q & A will be well-worth watching.

  8. dude says:

    And when will Justice Roberts start acting like a judge? It seems to me he would have a significant role in the Q & A.

    • General Sternwood says:

      I don’t think that is his function at this trial. That said, I would love it if he would introduce Pat Cipollone on Monday with the words, “Dead Man Walking.”

      • Peterr says:

        His role here is to preside over the discussions of the Senate, not to act as a judge. The founders recognized that you can’t have the VP presiding over a discussion that may result in the VP becoming president.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Shouldn’t he — at the very least — point out that in every one of the states they represent, municipal, county, and state courts all operate with rules that include witnesses and testimony.

            It’s astonishing to watch the GOP Senate in their bubble, seeming to convince themselves that no American has ever watched a legal drama, nor served on a jury, nor been called and sworn as a witness.

            ————————
            P.J. the reminder of Blank Kludge and Bustedknuckles is a treat.

            Good timing on those cocktail recipes: it’s a fair guess that Sen. Lindsay Graham and a few other GOP senators might prefer a nip or two to calm them down for further testimony ;-)

            • Rugger9 says:

              Remember that the America of Faux News did not carry audio of Schiff’s arguments or those of the rest of the House managers, the channel cut their mics and paraphrased it in a way that made Bill Barr proud.

              The one they should really fear is Warren, who is already on record for holding the Palace accountable, and every one of these GOP Senators and House members will be in the barrel.

              • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                Agree that Warren is formidable.
                However, their voters, including every cop who has to watch this sham, every council member who has to fund courts and jails, and every member of the bar is probably going to remember this charade in November.

                IOW, Warren would be formidable in any situation. But it sure seems that she has quite a wind at her back: after all, unlike most of the media and some of the senators, she’s been out on the hustings. If anyone has their ear to the ground, it’s Warren (and Klobachar, and Bennet, and Bernie, and increasingly Bloomberg and Steyer).

                • timbo says:

                  I’m keen to see what Harris does with all this as well. She’s from a state that ain’t going to vote for the GOP any time soon. And she isn’t running for President at the moment—much more leeway to say some pointed things that need to be said.

            • e.a.f. says:

              don’t believe any amount of booze is going to settle Lindsay Graham or another other Republican Senator’s intestines. Perhaps Demerol and some immodium.

    • cavenewt says:

      “And when will Justice Roberts start acting like a judge? It seems to me he would have a significant role in the Q & A.”

      Not to worry, he will play a huge part when we get to the Q & A. Questions get submitted in writing, and his job is to read them aloud.

      Heaven forfend he should act like an actual judge, though I have read more than one knowledgeable opinion that he can if he wants to. (I was really hoping that he cares enough about his legacy to actually play a useful role. Oh, well.)

      • dude says:

        Well, I guess I am disappointed that there is no “judge” in this “trial”, but I am not surprised. But as someone on MSNBC asked the other night: how is this then a “trial”? It is some forum for consideration of something—but not evidence, and not justice, and not direct testimony. What is being ‘tried’? There is surely a legal meaning to the word “trial”.

  9. vicks says:

    do we know WHEN the transcript was submitted to the White House?
    It would be interesting to compare a time line to behavior.
    Bolton’s spokesperson is denying Bolton circulated the manuscript and claims it went straight to the White House.
    obviously it’s more interesting if the leaks came from the white house but it seems like there are too many outlets quoting sources for that

        • Peterr says:

          OMG yes.

          How Bolton came to choose Chuck is a mystery. Bolton’s been around long enough to know that having “conservative credentials” is not a sufficient basis on which to choose your legal counsel.

      • Vicks says:

        So maybe 24 hours before the hairy details got to the “save the Trump” team?
        Clearly this knowledge was part of the strategy.
        Told ya Republicans should have bailed already, boy did they get played.
        Now they look like total chumps.
        Perhaps now we will see some real outrage.

        • Vicks says:

          Any chance Nancy was alerted to the draft being submitted in or around real time and was holding on to the articles because she was waiting for shoes to start dropping?
          Jan 6 is when Bolton said he’d testify so if he submitted the draft on the 30th it would seem he was stirring the pot

          • timbo says:

            Once he’d submitted the draft, he was someone who had generated contradictory evidence and so would be obligated to testify… in a not so bizzaro world anyway.

  10. Hugo Lane says:

    I know this seems unlikely, but what happens if McConnell skips witnesses and signals a GOP vote impeachment vote against Trump. The cascading of highly incriminating evidence, not least Bolton’s timing suggests a GOP powers that be are attempting to force McConnell to stage what is effectively a palace coup.

  11. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    FWIW, if Bolton was mentored in bureaucratic knife-fighting by Richard Bruce Cheney, it implies that Bolton has goods on *everyone*.

    After all, according to ‘Angler’ (by Bart Gellman), Cheney was first tasked with finding a VP for Bush II and had GOPers send him all their private info for vetting. He used it to compromise at least one of them and…. surprise!! turned out to be the best possible VP candidate for Bush II.

    If Bolton learned the same bureaucratic skullduggery, then he surely has the goods on *everyone*. (And if he has the goods on Kushner, that ought to be a whale of a tale.)

  12. orionATL says:

    i suspect there are lot of republican “names” like john bolton who make very good money giving speeches, selling books, and receiving think tank sinecures from monied republican fanatics. these right wing “intellectuals” are unlikely to betray their own financial interests or future paths to power, to testify against president trump to whom absolute loyalty has become de rigueur in the last few years.

    fanatical, blinkered, loyalty is a remarkable human phenomenon to observe in action – in family, religion, sports, and politics.

    • BobCon says:

      One thing that crossed my mind is whether Bolton’s seeming betrayal works as a signal to the retiring GOP senators that the financial spigot won’t be shut off for apostates.

      I doubt any of them can expect to sell as many books as Bolton will, but they may be looking for signs that someone like Koch, who has cooled a little on Trump, may still give them access to the gravy train, or whether Murdoch doesn’t block access for Bolton to the right wing media network.

    • Rugger9 says:

      It does point to a question I’ve posited before: who will Individual-1 be willing to save (in addition to himself, of course)? I only think Ivanka is safe… for now….

      • e.a.f. says:

        Ivanka is not safe. No one is safe. Only Trump will get in the life boat, all others will have to swim or sink.

  13. Peacerme says:

    Ugh. Some nights these words on this blog, at the very least, validate. We are in peril! We must get the word out. Adam Schiff set the perfect words to chant. “Truth Matters”! This quote leads to “God is Truth”. There is a path here to challenge evangelicals. So, if “God is truth” per the Bible, what are lies and liars? There is a path to chip away. And “the truth sets you free”. (Every member of any 12 step program-the largest spiritual organization in the world-would recognize this truth.) We must seize on all these angles and push simply for truth. Put all focus on seeking the facts.

  14. BobCon says:

    I’m curious how the GOP pushback and character assasination will be structured.

    Trump doesn’t know Bolton or he was out of the loop is going to fall flat. Disgruntled will definitely be used, but it has limited legs, I think.

    Bolton is Pompeo-like in his arrogant treatment of others, so there may be some embarassing incidents that get revealed. But short of something approaching illegal, like mishandling classified material, I’m not sure if they’ll be able to pull a McCabe-style legal attack.

    They’ll need to move fast, at any rate.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump’s middle name is character assassination. As Marcy points out, though, Bolton learned from the best. He knows better than Trump how to respond with ten times the effect of the attacking force. In isolation, it would be fun to watch Trump hoisting himself on Bolton’s petard.

    • r jam says:

      Yesterday Sean Hannity floated the ‘Bolton is disgruntled from being fired’ bit on his radio show.

      Sean, said he likes Bolton, is a good friend etc, but, he was fired and could have an axe to grind.

      “My shark had torn himself from the hook, and the scent, or maybe the stain it was, and him bleeding his life away drove the rest of them mad. Then the beasts to to eating each other.In their frenzy, they ate at themselves.You could feel the lust of murder like a wind stinging your eyes, and you could smell the death, reeking up out of the sea. I never saw anything worse… until this little picnic tonight.And you know, there wasn’t one of them sharks in the whole crazy pack that survived.” – Michael O’Hara, Lady From Shanghai

      • BobCon says:

        NPR reported that a Senator who had agreed to be on the show dropped out last night saying they expected to be asked about Bolton but didn’t have anything to say.

        Which says to me at least some don’t think standard answers like disgruntled are enough.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I read this post to mean that Trump is now f*cked.
      There will still be plenty of shouting and hullaballoo, but he’s now f*cked.

      After this, it would not surprise me if Trump were somehow pressured to resign. After Bolton’s thunderclap, how useful is Trump to Putin? Or the Saudi’s? Or the Israeli’s? Probably not as useful as he was a week ago.

      Cheney was diabolical, but Marcy pointed out time after time that he was a master of bureaucracy. (Recall that he was Chair of House Intel when he managed to bury Iran-Contra; then later, the Iraq War op was almost certainly run out of Cheney’s office.)

      If Bolton learned at the feet of the master, Cheney, then he would have known what to keep, where to keep it, how to ensure certain records were stashed, who would see it, and when.

      Whether you like Bolton or hate him, dropping this particular nugget the day before the senate reconvenes with the GOP arguing against witnesses is a bureaucratic equivalent of a homer with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. There’s a weird kind of elegance to it all.

  15. pdaly says:

    FYI: Right now the NYT article states “updated 9:12 p.m. ET”, but the top and bottom of the article do not indicate what information, if any, has changed.
    I also don’t know what time the article was originally posted.

    • pdaly says:

      But the article still contains this statement which seems to be contradicted by a public announcement by Bolton’s lawyer that they sent the manuscript only to the National Security Council’s Records Management Division.

      “He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.”

        • pdaly says:

          I assume Bolton expected Washington DC to leak the important parts–probably why he waited until 12/30/19, several days after Trump was impeached, to submit the draft for review.

          I only see a statement and one letter. The letter you linked to looks the same as the letter that the NYT article links to, I think–except for differences in what was considered private information and blacked out.

      • Timmuggs says:

        Sent to NSC so it becomes impossible for Barr to impound it completely. It will live forever in the govt. And even longer outside the govt, as it’s in the wild.

  16. Frank Probst says:

    This was a masterstroke, I think. He’s now in a position to say that he didn’t keep anything secret that he would have had to disclose under oath at the trial, so if he isn’t called to testify, he won’t look like he withheld relevant (potential) testimony for his book. But he’s so detailed here that you would also think that he’s still (presumably) withholding a lot of dirt on unrelated matters that will come out in the book when it gets published. I think it’s fair to say that his book won’t be a love letter to the Trump or his Administration, which was always a possibility, but it looks like he happily burned all of his bridges. It looks to me like it’s going to be well worth the $2 million he’s getting for it.

    • Frank Probst says:

      His also also played his hand very well. His statement strongly implies that everything that’s come out is true, without actually saying it directly.

      • Mooser says:

        But there’s a big plot twisteroo in the last two chapters. Trump becomes even more aggressive towards Iran, and Bolton changes his mind, decides it was Biden all along.

  17. Dave Karson says:

    This is great news! What are the odds now on getting 51 votes for witness testimony and documents? Thanks! Best, Dave Karson

      • Stephen Calhoun says:

        Yup. From my armchair I visualize the GOP Senators riding the assertion that Trump was ‘merely’ conducting foreign policy in a prudent manner, and with his presidential eye on ‘corruption.’ This is preposterous, yet it is all the so-called perfect call offers—if you squint at it a certain way.

        (If they had been smart they would have taken this austere line and marched it home. Alas, in performing for their audience-of-one they are apparently compelled to throw all the conspiracy goop and everything else on the wall.)

        The history books will be cruel.

  18. pdaly says:

    OT: Yesterday earlofhuntingdon left a comment that made me chuckle:

    “But GOP Senators continue to swarm to Trump’s defense, as if he were a queen bee being assaulted by a cloud of Roundup. They might consider a closer analogy: Trump is the cuckoo in their nest. He will eventually toss them out, so he can gobble up all of mommy’s treats.”

    I think the queen bee was spritzed with a little Roundup (or Raid) tonight.
    I also learned that there are not only cuckoo birds (who parasitically barge in on a nesting bird deposit their own eggs to be raised by the other bird) but that there are also cuckoo bees that do the same thing. They deposit their eggs for the honey bees to raise. When the cuckoo bees hatch in the hive, they are bigger and feed off the smaller bees.

    But all this talk of barging in and taking what it wants, damned the consequences, I think we should also consider the honey badger. There is a funny you tube video of the honey badger doing just that. Search for the 2011 original titled “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger.”

  19. Pacific says:

    Call me cynical, but I doubt the fact that Bolton confirms that Trump ordered that U.S. aid be withheld from Ukraine, unless and until Zelensky delivered dirt on the Bidens (and presumedly would testify to the same, if subpoenaed) will make any difference in the outcome of the impeachment trial. I hope it does. But, it is quite possible that McConnell and the Senate Republicans will just continue with the sham trial, exclude witnesses and documents, and, of course, fail to convict Trump.

    Is Bolton just releasing information to sell his book, or does he have the additional goal of forcing Trump from office? For the latter, it seems Bolton will have to have additional evidence of wrongdoing by Trump.

  20. sand says:

    As to Bolton and the GOP, Live by the sword; die by the sword.

    As to the rest of us, we are but dust and our days are few and brief, like grass, like flowers, blown by the wind and gone forever. RIP Kobe Bryant, Lower Merion’s native son.

  21. Eureka says:

    They haven’t put him to bed yet (17 mins ago):

    Donald J. Trump: “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the…”
    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1221663763138588672

    “…transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems. Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations…”

    “…(Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations – and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.”

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      Am I wrong in thinking that the actual transcript for the call has yet to be released ? What is being referred to is just the, shall we call it the, Barr Version ?

      • Eureka says:

        You are correct, he’s just prattling his repetitive lies again. He almost never changes his defense in light of evidence (which is telling enough), just adds another string of sing-song crap to it.

    • Eureka says:

      HAHA. Teri Kanefield had just updated her “bogus defense bingo card” for days 2 and 3, later applies it to Trump’s thread here:

      (Thread) “Moreover, in 2 of Trump’s tweets, we can check off 3 Bogus Defenses from the Bingo Card. #1: The call was perfect #17: Zelensky said there was nothing wrong #21: Trump did more for Ukraine than Obama (I need to make a card with more squares)…[bingo card]”
      https://twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield/status/1221675426671558656

  22. Tom R. says:

    I am not 100% persuaded that the timing of this leak should be seen as a good example of Machiavelli- or Cheney-style skullduggery.
    — If it had come 3 days earlier, we would have marveled at how it was just in time for Schiff to read it into the record.
    — If it had come 2 days later, we would have marveled at how it was too late for the defense to respond to it, yet just in time to blow up their arguments and influence the critical vote on witnesses.

    I am not impressed when people tell me they don’t believe in coincidences. In fact there are coincidences all the time. Example: the birthday “paradox”. People have a strong tendency to attribute meaning to meaningless coincidences. Example: constellations.

    So perhaps we should just accept this for what it is, and use it as best we can.

    Maybe there will be more where this came from, or maybe not. We don’t know, so we should prepare for both possibilities, so we won’t be surprised either way.

    • JAFive says:

      I’m with you. Is it really so clear that this information came from the Bolton camp? Or that the objective is to stick the knife in Trump? His lawyer’s statement is clearly intended to put the leak on the White House and that’s not totally implausible, right?

      Bolton submitted the manuscript December 30, giving the White House a heads up about his version of events a week *before* his statement expressing a willingness to testify, and they’ve had it for almost a month now, giving them plenty of time to shape a narrative around it. That seems inconsistent with Bolton fighting a bureaucratic war against them in which the element of surprise is clearly an advantage, no?

      The timing of the leak, while tough for the White House, doesn’t seem as devastating as if this had hit *after* the Trump team completed their case just a few days down the road (or as, you say, before Schiff started). And, as everyone has been saying all along, if Bolton wants his story out there, all he has to do is walk up to a microphone and start talking.

      This seems more like a defensive leak to me — either because the WH had some indication Bolton was about to talk or, perhaps, because they had concluded that they were going to lose the witness vote and wanted to get out ahead of the story (or maybe, as you say, it’s just journalistic shoe leather magic and all entirely a coincidence).

    • quickbread says:

      One thing the timing of this revelation does do is provide a life raft for GOP senators who need a graceful way to get off the Trump ship without alienating supporters. There must be quite a few Trump-enabling senators who, by now, see that the ship is going down in flames. An aide to McConnell stated that the turtle had no knowledge of the Bolton manuscript’s existence. Whether that’s true or not, the message that sends the public is that the WH has been withholding critical information from senators.

  23. e.a..f says:

    OMG, that is funny. Did wonder if Bolton’s book would get some “exposure” before it was “released”. Oh, this is funny. There are the recordings others made and Bolton’s notes and book draft. timing is every thing. They say revenge is a dish best eaten cold, but I think in this case, luke warm works just as well. I’m sorry I can’t stop laughing about this.

    Today has been a very sad day.

    this post cheered me up considerably. Would expect the Senate will go ahead and declare all is good with Trump, the draft is out there, the book will be out there, the tapes are out there. can hardly wait to see the Dems. ads. Lets hope one or two of those billionaires spend some money.

    • e.a.f. says:

      Perhaps this falls under the category of keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer. Interesting “diverse” group.

  24. Jenny says:

    Thank you Marcy. First line of post – spot on.
    “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.”

    • Jenny says:

      A lot of people have said to me, ‘That’s a great idea, running for president. You’ll get booked for more speeches. You can write a book.’

      John Bolton

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Mr. Roberts is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican and Catholic. I think he would find what you suggest a bridge too far.

      I suspect he would rationalize not doing it as avoiding interfering in a political spat between the executive and legislative branches.
      More likely, he would believe that the Republicans should win, because they’re Republicans.

      If true, he should perhaps reflect on how different his party is from the one he joined. When he was a young lawyer, and in response to rampant, unchecked, but profitable pollution, a Republican president created the EPA to keep the Democrats from doing something more intrusive. Now they whine, lie, cut taxes, and pollute in front of you.

    • timbo says:

      He’s an Institutionalist IMO. He’ll abide by what the Senate decides to do, as long as it doesn’t obviously cross any boundaries Constitutionally. I hope.

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