President Donald Trump broke his silence on former national security advisor John Bolton early Wednesday in a series of scorching tweets accusing Bolton of begging for a job and for pressing the Trump Administration to engage in a dangerous, offensive foreign policy.
Bolton, of course, is now dominating headlines after a draft of his book, “The Room Where It Happened,” leaked to The New York Times over the weekend. In it, Bolton describes a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian officials, seemingly verifying claims that Trump tried to withhold foreign aid destined for the Ukraine until Ukrainian investigators agreed to pursue claims that former Vice President Joe Biden used his power to help his son, Hunter, get and keep a job with oil and gas company, Burisma.
The claim isn’t rock solid — Bolton has described communications between the White House and Ukraine before as “cordial” — and reports surfaced Tuesday that if Bolton was called to testify in front of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney would provide counter-testimony.
“Democrats have said that connection was an abuse of power aimed at boosting Trump’s reelection prospects,” according to Fox News. “Trump’s defense team has said that there was no such connection, and even if there was, Trump had good reason to think the Bidens should have been investigated for corruption and that such a ‘quid pro quo’ is common in U.S. foreign policy.”
Trump is taking a scorched-earth approach to his former employee, it seems, regardless.
“For a guy who couldn’t get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn’t get approved for anything since, ‘begged’ me for a non Senate [sic] approved job, which I gave him despite many saying ‘Don’t do it, sir,’ takes the job, mistakenly says ‘Libyan Model’ on T.V.,” Trump raged.
Trump went on to accuse Bolton of “many more mistakes of judgement [sic],” and said Bolton “gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book.”
“All Classified National Security. Who would do this?” Trump concluded, apparently referring to the National Security Council’s review of Bolton’s book drafts.
Trump has maintained uncharacteristic silence on Bolton’s claims since they surfaced late Sunday, but cracks began to emerge in the president’s wall on Tuesday night, when he tweeted, “Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this ‘nonsense’ a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated.”
“He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!” Trump went on.
Bolton maintains that he was not fired, according to NBC News.
Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly discouraged Trump from attacking Bolton publicly, telling the press that he is “concerned when John Bolton’s credibility is attacked, it makes it more likely some will feel the need to call him as a witness” — something Republicans are currently working overtime to avoid.
The claims made in Bolton’s book have inspired some Republicans to seek the additional witness testimony that Democrats want, and a vote, scheduled for Friday, on allowing further witness testimony, may not go Republicans’ way. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, is reportedly confident that, by Friday, he will have enough votes to call a swift end to the Senate impeachment trial without calling John Bolton.