John Bolton’s interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz aired Sunday night, and, predictably, Bolton savaged President Trump. Bolton really said nothing that’s not in his tell-all West Wing dramascape “The Room Where It Happened” (available from Amazon for just $19.42, or Kindle edition $16.99), so what bothers me is why this book is out, and why now?
I wrote a 500-page book. And even that’s not a complete picture. If Simon and Schuster had given me 500 more pages, I could have filled that too. But it’s important for people to look at these facts spread out over a range of issues to see what actually happened. Not to listen just to the rhetoric and the hoopla, but look at the facts. And I hope they do, and they’ll make up their own decisions.
But Bolton claims to have been on the inside on what went on with Ukraine, but he didn’t testify. This bothers me also. In the interview, and in the book, Bolton gives facts that could have convicted the president during his impeachment.
BOLTON: As the months and weeks wore on, he talked about them more and more and more. And I think this was a case of him listening to outside advisors, and maybe some of his inside advisors as well, and just becoming obsessive on the point that if he could crack open what happened in Ukraine, he could discredit Biden — discredit Hillary as sort of a — icing on the cake.
And that that would be an enormous boost for his reelection. There was no doubt this was political. And what he was able to do during impeachment was convince people that somehow he only had the issue of corruption in the Ukraine in mind. And that was the least of his concerns.
Bolton says he didn’t testify because “it would not have made any difference.” But he thinks the book will? Raddatz didn’t give Bolton a complete pass on this…she wasn’t slamming him either. Look at this part of the exchange.
RADDATZ: But you could have testified. You could have made some sort of statement. Your critics say you put your personal profit over the country by saving your depiction of Trump for this book.
BOLTON: I think that’s absolutely wrong. The fact was, the way the Democrats misused the process, the way they drove Republicans in the House away from them — Republicans in the House who might have supported impeachment, who might have looked for a boarder investigation, who would have been open to something they boxed into a very small political space, and forced them to fight back. And that guaranteed on the Senate side it would be a partisan fight there as well. And my testimony, or, by the way, the test —
RADDATZ: You don’t think it would have made a difference, your testimony —
BOLTON: I don’t think it would have made a difference because of the way the Democrats pursued the impeachment process in the House.
And people watched it on TV. It was a partisan catfight. There was no in — this was — this was so far removed from the Ervin committee — hearings of the Watergate era, which I remember quite well. The Democrats showed it was partisan in the House because they had it conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, rather than the House Judiciary Committee, which is in contemporary times, where impeachment’s conducted. This was all about politics for them. And it became all about politics for the Republicans. So —
RADDATZ: It’s also about — you’re a man who says you want to talk about facts. And you say it wouldn’t make a difference. But what you would have said in your testimony was what many believed was a key statement. The president himself directly connecting the aid to security assistance and the investigation.
RADDATZ: This is what Michael Purpura said during the impeachment hearings, the president’s legal counsel: “Not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else.” You could have been that person providing that testimony.
BOLTON: Yeah. And it would not have made any difference. The —
RADDATZ: How can you say that? How do you know —
BOLTON: Because minds — because minds were made up on Capitol Hill. And my feeling was in the midst of all the chaos that had been created, this would have come and gone, and nobody would have paid any attention to it. My view is when you take the extraordinary step of removing a president from office, you have to do it in a serious way. The only way to win an impeachment would have been to get Republicans to go along. And the Democrats abandoned that idea almost before they got started.
So this is what bothers me.
If Democrats so badly botched the impeachment (they did botch it) that Bolton’s testimony would not have made any difference at all, and he was so sure of that, why did Bolton publish his memoir before the election in an election year?
Did he think his book, without his under-oath testimony, would be more believable? Or did he do it for the money?
For the record, I don’t think it was for the money. I think it was a regrettable decision. Bolton needed to be under oath, giving testimony, not writing a 500-page book about it.
If he was really serious about being a conservative, he could have urged the Senate to convict Trump and remove him, and then we wouldn’t be talking about re-election, and we’d have President Pence.
If the Democrats botched the impeachment, Bolton botched it more. This bothers me.