Saturday, June 27, 2020

Bolton's Motive

The mystery of John Bolton's refusal to testify against Donald Trump in impeachment hearings earlier this year now has been solved- inadvertently, by Bolton himself.

In a column written earlier this month, never-Trumper Bill Kristol defended John Bolton's decision to criticize President Trump, characterized Bolton as scrupulously honest, and remarked

those who continue to support Trump need to accept that they’re supporting a man who has done what Bolton says Trump has done. And those who support a Trump second term need to accept that they are supporting four more years in office for a president who has done what Bolton says Trump has done.

And those who continue to keep silent are keeping silent from us, their fellow citizens, their judgment of a president who has done what Bolton says Trump has done.

Enough. Bolton has spoken. Surely there are others who will now dare to disturb the sound of silence.

Nonetheless, he didn't speak when his words would have made by far the greatest impact. Bolton hasn't leveled with us as to why- until he did so, by indirection, on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher. President Trump's former National Security Adviser stated (beginning at 11:30 of the video below)

....  but I do think what I'm going to focus on is keeping Republicans in control of the Senate because if Biden does win, I think it's very important to make sure Republicans have at least one of the three elected entities.

Maher then commented

You took a lot of heat for not testifying in impeachment because you did call it a drug deal and you did say if you were a senator, you would have voted for impeachment, so you were on the Democrats' side on that but you said- and I thin I agree with you here- it wouldn't have changed the vote. I agree with that.

That's a safe bet. If Donald Trump had interrupted the impeachment trial by entering half-naked the Senate chamber, shooting a six shooter at the ceiling and yelling "yippee ki yay" before crawling out on all fours, Susan Collins would have pronounced herself "concerned."

Maher continued

But is the book going to change anybody's vote- I mean by coming out with a book instead of testifying? You think that's more influential that you have a book that says "Donald Trump is a narcissistic dunce who sides with dictators"? Didn't we know that?

Bolton responded

Well, look, the book is the most detailed I could make it and still get through the government's pre-publication review process. I do think that while it may not have taken a village, it does take a book. I don't think with all due respect, with a television interview or even testimony in Congress you can tell anything approaching the full story. I do think this is the best I could do.....

With all due respect, while "timing is everything" is trite and sometimes invalid, it is valid in this instance.  Had Bolton testified before Congress, Republicans still would have voted against impeachment, then against conviction. They're in too far, they can't go back, and they'll have to go down with the ship.

But it would have put those GOP representatives, then senators, on the spot. None could have said "I didn't know," as some Germans did following discovery of death camps at the close of World War II, because Donald Trump would have been (further) exposed.  It would have given ammunition to Democratic senate candidates running against incumbent Republicans in their drive to take control of the Senate and put a check on the President whom Bolton believes seriously jeopardizes national security. It could have been very, very bad for Republicans trying to hold on to their seats.

Kristol, again:
The rock-ribbed conservative pledged to fight a subpoena and kept his mouth shut when his voice was most needed to prevent that second Trump term.  He maintained silence because "what I'm going to focus on is keeping Republicans in control of the Senate."

That would dramatically embolden Trump in a second term.  Moreover, the failure to testify before the House enhanced Trump's re-election prospects by keeping vital information from the public. Because of his staunchly conservative and Republican pedigree, Bolton may have possessed with voters the credibility not possessed by truly patriotic Americans, those who spoke out and were smeared by Administration acolytes as part of the "deep state."

Bill Kristol is right.  John Bolton, who told Maher that he's unlikely to vote for either Trump or Joe Biden, is an honest right-winger. And if strengthening Donald Trump's hand and blocking the election of a Democratic President is the price to pay for keeping the US Senate in Republican hands, it's a price he'll gladly pay.

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