News and Analysis

‘A Victory For Russia’: John Bolton Claims Putin Was Waiting For A Second Trump Term — And Got The Same Results From Biden
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies September 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. Bolton spoke on the topic of , "Navigating Geostrategic Flux in Asia: The United States and Korea." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “undoubtedly” been looking forward to former President Donald Trump serving a second term — but he said that President Joe Biden’s administration was effectively yielding the same results.

The former Ambassador to the United Nations sat down with MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell, and he told her that he believed the current situation would ultimately translate to “a victory for Russia.”


Bolton began by saying that the Biden administration had repeatedly stressed that threats of sanctions were intended to be a deterrent to prevent Putin from doing exactly what he has done over the past several days — and he argued that a final decision from Putin to invade was a clear indication that Biden’s strategy had failed.

“If deterrent has failed, the answer is to come up with new steps, certainly to bring the guillotine down on all the sanctions they’ve been contemplating and take additional steps if they want to stop any further military action. Their admission they’re engaged in gradual escalation is a further admission of a disastrous failure of policy,” Bolton explained.

Mitchell offered her own take, arguing that it was Trump who had opened the door for such an escalation.

“Putin was undoubtedly waiting for a second Trump term, but he is getting effectively almost what he would have expected then. This is going to be a victory for Russia,” Bolton said.

“You think that what — the Biden administration is doing, rallying the NATO allies, getting — I mean …” Mitchell pushed back, but Bolton interrupted.

“It has failed,” he said.

“Ambassador —” Mitchell tried again.

“The president says it has failed,” Bolton continued.

“It has not failed to rally the united — the NATO allies, they have never been stronger. I was just in Munich and I can tell you there was no space among the allies,” Mitchell pressed again.

“There’s plenty of space,” Bolton objected. “Mario Draghi, the Prime Minister of Italy, said Friday if the E.U. had to the impose economic sanctions, he hoped it would not include energy sector. That’s a huge hole in NATO unity.”

Bolton went on to suggest that despite the Tuesday announcement from Germany — indicating a refusal to certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — the resolve to maintain that position might crumble in the coming weeks or months. “And as I said, what Scholz has done is only a paper maneuver that will last a couple months. We’ll see how long that lasts,” he said.

Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald responded to Bolton’s interview in a tweet, saying, “So funny that MSNBC put John Bolton on and @mitchellreports was horrified to hear him say that Putin got everything he wanted because of Biden and that Biden has failed to confront Russia. Putin always wins. He always has everyone right where he wants them.”

Quite a few people responded to the interview by voicing their displeasure over Mitchell even bringing Bolton on as a guest.

“I don’t want to hear John Bolton’s opinion on what we should be doing with Russia or anything for that matter,” Richard Ojeda II said.

“MSNBC’s willingness to keep booking a discredited clown like John Bolton, as if he were a respectable foreign policy expert, is a reminder that the media is only in this for the ratings – and not to inform you about anything. Everything about the media needs to change,” the Palmer Report added.

“The combination of John Bolton on MSNBC talking about Biden’s ‘failing’ strategy and Andrea Mitchell as moderator sitting there dumbfoundedly silent as he says this, is infuriating,” came from Duty to Warn.

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