If there’s one thing that’s now been made clear about former National Security Adviser John Bolton, it’s that he’s willing to play both sides — whatever suits him best at the moment.
Before he was fired from his position as a national security adviser by President Donald Trump in September 2019, Bolton described Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in glowing terms and did not suggest that he had any concerns, as can be heard in an interview from August 2019.
Trump tweeted the video clip, along with the caption, “GAME OVER!” on Wednesday. Watch:
GAME OVER! pic.twitter.com/yvMa6bPqfy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020
On the flip side, less than two weeks after Bolton was fired from the Trump White House, a Democrat lawmaker said that Bolton reached out to Democrats and suggested they look into the firing of Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
“Ambassador Bolton suggested to me, unprompted, that the committee look into the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, revealed on Wednesday. “He strongly implied that something improper had occurred around her removal as our top diplomat in Kyiv.”
Engel said the conversation took place on September 23, one day before Engel and other House Democrats started an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump over his Ukraine phone call, and less than two weeks after Bolton had been humiliated by his sudden ouster.
“At the time, I said nothing publicly about what was a private conversation, but because this detail was relevant to the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight Committee’s investigation into this matter, I informed my investigative colleagues,” Engel said.
Is Yovanovitch relevant to impeachment?
Yovanovitch appeared as a witness in the House impeachment inquiry, complaining bitterly that Trump didn’t follow her policy objectives on Ukraine and then fired her. Later, it came out that Trump had demanded her ouster after associates of Rudy Giuliani said she was talking Trump down and was still loyal to former President Barack Obama, who appointed her.
The trouble for Democrats is, presidents are allowed to fire any ambassador they want, for any reason. They are also allowed to set any foreign policy they wish, whether their ambassador agrees with it or not.
These facts led Trump legal team member Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) to tweet that the revelation was not relevant to impeachment.
Hardly groundbreaking or relevant.
The more noteworthy item is that this is magically coming out 127 days into this impeachment process—on the eve of President Trump being acquitted, as Democrats rapidly lose momentum.
You can smell their desperation. https://t.co/ZgU55AXMKy
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 29, 2020
Desperate attempt by Democrats
As Meadows pointed out, the revelation is the latest desperate attempt by Democrats to get a few Republicans to vote for calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. Sens. Mitt Romney (UT) and Susan Collins (ME) said earlier this week that they wanted to hear from Bolton after an excerpt from his forthcoming book was leaked.
Democrats have repeatedly called for more witnesses, including Bolton, with House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-CA) even suggesting on the Senate floor that the House case alone — which he spearheaded — was insufficient. But Bolton’s credibility is flawed, and without a vote to call more witnesses, the impeachment trial is all but sure to lead to an acquittal in the next few days. As well it should.