President Trump may be pulling out of Syria, but it’s bombs away in Washington. John Bolton’s likening Rudy Giuliani to a ‘hand grenade’ has now prompted America’s mayor to fire back that his old chum is an ‘atomic bomb’. Both may be right.
As the president complains about a lack of transparency in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, enough information is surfacing to make it clear that the testimony of former National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill administered another body blow to Trump’s claim that his July telephone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was fine and dandy. Hill apparently testified that Bolton wanted nothing to do with a Ukrainian scheme that he likened to a ‘drug deal’ and told her to speak with White House lawyers. She did. Today, State Department official George Kent is testifying. His statements are unlikely to be any more salubrious for Trump and Co.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that even as Trump and his paladins inveigh against the corruption of Hunter Biden, Giuliani, who is the president’s personal lawyer, was scooping up a cool $500,000 from one of his two Ukrainian clients, who were recently arrested at Dulles airport. Giuliani continues to vouch for the bona fides of Fraud Guarantee: ‘I know exactly where the money came from. I knew it at the time. I will prove beyond any doubt it came from the United States of America.’
But it is Bolton who remains the prize catch for Democrats, who are starting to look with a more benignant eye upon the official they once loved to despise. It was Bolton who helped tip Florida for George W. Bush in the 2000 election. And it was Bolton who has served as a one-man wrecking crew of international treaties, which is why Trump eventually signed him on as his national security adviser. Trump may soon conclude that the only thing worse than hiring Bolton was deciding to fire him.
Now Bolton is embarked upon a new campaign of regime change in Washington itself. His target is clearly Trump himself, both for his foreign policy apostasies on Syria, Iran and North Korea and for his personal slights. Whether Trump will be able to depict Bolton as a deep state apparatchik is an open question. Few have done more to assail it than Bolton.
But Trump is quite right to fear Bolton whom he apparently suspects, as the Daily Beast reports of being the chief leaker: ‘In the course of casual conversations with advisers and friends, President Trump has privately raised suspicions that a spiteful John Bolton, his notoriously hawkish former national security adviser, could be one of the sources behind the flood of leaks against him, three people familiar with the comments said. At one point, one of those sources recalled, Trump guessed that Bolton was behind one of the anonymous accounts that listed the former national security adviser as one of the top officials most disturbed by the Ukraine-related efforts of Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who remains at the center of activities that spurred the impeachment inquiry.’
Will Bolton be willing to testify before House Democrats, ignoring the specious claims of executive privilege that the White House has been asserting? Nothing would seal his emerging hero status among Democrats than to emerge as an avenger who outs Trump as the mastermind behind the Ukraine scheme. The spectacle of Bolton dunking on Trump would be the ultimate shock and awe moment.