Bolton’s book – Part 3

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” writes Bolton, who left his position in September.  APF press reports, “Bolton writes that Trump, who came from the worlds of real estate and show business, was inclined to offer ‘personal favors to dictators he liked.'” These excerpts taken from Bolton’s book  have been repeated dozens of times.

John Bolton will be interviewed by Martha Raddatz, tonight June 21 at 9;00 pm ET on ABC.   It is an one hour program.   

John  Bolton served under three presidents (Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush  and G.W. Bush) prior to his 17 months as Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor.  I saw him very frequently as a commentator on Fox News, during the Obama administration.   He was always very quick to explain why Obama’s policies, particularly on the Iran Nuclear Deal, were completely wrong.  A summary of his experience is provided in the first link at the bottom of this blog.  According to Wikipedia, “Bolton is a former senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Fox News Channel commentator. He was a foreign policy adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”

I expect my book to arrive on Tuesday.   Shipments to booksellers have begun.  Legal action to block the book publication appears to  have failed.   But the court case isn’t over.  In the end, Bolton may lose the 2 million dollars that he was promised.  I’m thinking this could easily linger in the courts for a long while.

I am certain Trump admired Bolton’s combative style, his nationalistic approach to foreign issues  and conservative views.  I think Bolton’s way of skewing facts to his favor, really helped him convince Trump that he would be an asset to his administration.     His time at the UN showed that he was not a particularly diplomatic representative to the UN and could be very blunt.   I suspect this is why Trump selected him to head up the National Security Agency in 2018.   At a moments notice, John Bolton could present a clear and concise defense of any of Trump’s foreign policies.

Trump reminded everyone at a press conference that Bolton was not confirmed as Ambassador to the UN in December 2006 under the Bush administration after serving in the UN for 5 months.  What he fails to mention that the Senate was controlled at that time  by the Democrats in late 2006.    Senator Lincoln Chafee, a Republican from Rhode Island, on the Senate Foreign Relations  Committee opposed Bolton.  Bolton had been considered as a poor choice by Democrats as he had supported Bush in the Iraq War, but was  strongly supported by conservative Republicans and George Bush.   As stated in the link below,  at press conference, the President Bush said, “I received the resignation of Ambassador John Bolton. I accept it. I’m not happy about it. I think he deserved to be confirmed.”

I’m not particularly upset that Bolton chose to release all he know no and not during the impeachment inquiry.   In Bolton’s book, he states the impeachment inquiry was  too focused on Ukraine.   But Bolton is wrong.  Had the inquiry been broader, the evidence would have been weaker, and the Republicans in the Senate would have been accusing Democrats of making wild accusations.  Come to think of it, they did any way and tried to disparage the witnesses who had testified in the House.      They brought up the fact that the numerous Democrats thought Trump should be impeached based on Russian interference and his obstruction of justice related to the probe, then switched to Ukraine where there evidence was rock solid.

Had Bolton agreed to testify in House, Trump still would have been acquitted in the Senate.  No amount of evidence on the Ukraine scandal  could have changed the verdict.   This was re-iterated in the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg,   “That Bolton did not testify to this earlier is to his immense disgrace. But it is a national disgrace that his confirmation of the Democrats’ impeachment case probably won’t matter, so inured are Republicans to staggering corruption.”    In fact, according to excerpts in the book,  Bolton felt acquittal in the Senate was a done deal, and if the Republicans had been  allowed subpoenaed him, Trump still would have been acquitted.  I’m paraphrasing this a bit.

I would have liked it even better if Bolton had released his book in August 2020, as Trump was really trying to rev up his base support.    From the beginning, I was not a big fan of the impeachment inquiry, because it was as clear as day,  Trump would be acquitted in the Senate, regardless of the evidence.   I said the proper way to get rid of President Trump was through the ballot box in November.

Vote, 2020.

Stay tuned and safe,

Dave

Links:

Bolton, John,  The Room Where it Happened ($19.95 Hardcopy, available June 23, 2020 Amazon Prime).  Accepting pre-orders.

Wikipedia Link:  John Bolton

APF: John Bolton’s explosive charges against Trump

(There are many copies in circulation among journalists, so many posts like the one above can be found on the internet)

Propublica, John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him
Please note this article appeared when Bolton was in March 2018, when Trump announced Bolton’s appointment as National Security Advisor.

Time, John Bolton’s Temper  (Please not the date of this article,  April 25, 2005)

 

 

Bolton’s book – Part 2

Seems everybody knows what’s in this book, entitled “In the room where it happened” that I could just as well read the excerpts.  Fox New quotes Chris Hayes (MSNBC commentator) for criticizing John Bolton, but they carefully cherry pick Chris Hayes’ comments.   Of course, all this discussion is occurring when not a single copy has been distributed to the public.   What seems to really upset Chris Hayes, is a statement within the book, which blames the Democrats for failing to impeach Donald Trump, with a narrow focus on just Ukraine.   Bolton had his chance to set the record straight four months ago in front of Congress and he didn’t.   But, I think he and just about everyone else knew that once in the Senate, impeachment would fall short of the two-thirds majority as required to send Trump packing.   So, he chose the book rather than the grilling in front of Congress.  If he had chosen to  testified,  the Republicans would have attacked Bolton, despite his life long allegiance to the Republican party.

To correct the record, see below for all the comments made by Chris Hayes on MSNBC:

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/bolton-blames-democrats-for-failed-impeachment-despite-refusing-to-testify-85295173778

Stay tuned,

Dave

Bolton’s book is coming

John Bolton served as National Security Advisor to Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019.  He refused when asked to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee, in the impeachment inquiry.   Interestingly, he was never subpoenaed to testify,  His book, entitled  “The Room Where It Happened”  will be  distributed on June 23, 2020.   Release has been delayed several months in order to obtain a security clearance.  After nearly 6 months, no security clearance was given, and the publisher decided to proceed without it.

I ordered a copy from Amazon, and hope they will deliver my copy on June 23, 2020 as promised.  I have not read the other books by John Bolton, but just by their titles, I know he advocates a more militant posture for the US, particularly in our relations to Iran.   John Bolton was a very frequent guest on Fox News as was KT McFarland, typically critical of President Obama’s foreign policy.

A lawsuit has been filed by the Department of Justice, as reported below by CNN:

Trump said Bolton would have “criminal problems” if the book was published as is. The lawsuit filed Tuesday is a civil suit, and carries no criminal penalties. Initially, Attorney General William Barr did not confirm that his department was preparing a lawsuit but said the administration was focused on getting Bolton to complete the clearance process for publishing books.

At the end of the CNN article as given below, there is a link  to the DOJ civil complaint.   If this were a criminal charge, the lawsuit would have cited violations of rule 18 US Code 798, “Disclosure of Classified Information” and charged  John Bolton or the publisher of releasing information which damages the interests of the US.   The lawsuit claims John Bolton violated his non-disclosure agreement.  The remedies for this breach are generally monetary.

According to the DOJ lawsuit, the process to obtain clearance was an iterative one, beginning in December 30, 2019.  In the DOJ filing, it is stated that, “In late January 2020,  … [it was]  confirmed in writing [by the NSC reviewer, Ellen Knight] that the chapter in question contained significant classified information.”    This indicates it was not the entire book, but just one chapter that the reviewer was concerned about.   The lawsuit also reveals that on April 27, 2020 this NSC reviewer had concluded that the book contained no classified material.    It is very clear from the filing, that there was a very active period between mid February to April 27, 2020 when the book was being revised to eliminate classified information.  On April 28, 2020,  NSC decided to cut off this interaction,  and Bolton was simply told the process was ongoing.    Anyone reading the DOJ filing can feel that John Bolton was being given the run around, after close interactions with Ellen McKnight.

What happen after April 28 is clear from the filing.   Ellen Knight’s expedited review process was the normal process.   She worked with John Bolton to make the necessary changes so the manuscript was good to go.   Likely, a lot of factual details had to be removed.  The “chapter in question” as identified in January 2020,   containing classified information,  I am assuming, was the one on the Ukraine scandal leading to the impeachment of Donald Trump.   The  White House did not  want to see the book published, so they restarted the entire  review, not wanting a single sentence to be published.   It was no longer a chapter, but the book in its entirety that was under a new review.   On May 1, 2020, this new review  can only be described as a slow boat to China.  Michael Ellis holds the title of Senior Director of Intelligence Programs.  He assumed the position in March 1, 2020, and on May 1, 2020 began his review.   This time around, there were no meetings or phone calls with John Bolton or his lawyer.    It sure looks as if this was a desperate attempt to stop the publication of the book by the White House as, unlike the Knight’s review,  Ellis simply informed Bolton that “the process is ongoing” and that he was bound by the Non-Disclosure Agreement.  Unlike McKnight’s review,  Ellis kept Bolton in the dark.

I have read the complaint.   The DOJ lawsuit  does not accuse either John Bolton nor the publisher of  committing the crime of disclosure of classified information.    No lawsuit has been filed against Simon and Schuster, so there is nothing preventing them from printing the book.   Everything Trump says or does as President is not automatically classified and former employees have First Amendment rights.

In fact, the DOJ filing, provides sufficient evidence that the government did not expeditiously and in good faith work with John Bolton from May 1 to June 7, 2020 to revise or remove any classified information.  They basically stonewalled him for 5 weeks, after the book had been with the NSC for 5 months.  The  second phase of the review was simply to push approval to after November 2020.  If the book was in praise of Trump, it would have been out the door in days.  Certainly, Nikki Haley’s book faced no long term scrutiny.

The court case will be a civil lawsuit, as whether Bolton breached his non-disclosure agreements and what remedies are appropriate.  It will be a drawn out process.    As part of the remedy, the lawsuit asks the court to instruct the Bolton to tell Simon and Schuster to destroy all the pre-print copies of the book, if he can.  Just not going to happen.

I will get my copy of The Room Where it Happen.  Amazon, Simon and Schuster and of course,  John Bolton will get more publicity than they can imagine.  Amazon will publish two more books, one by Trump’s niece in July 2020, Too much is never enough,  and the second book by H.R.  McMasters entitled, Battlegrounds.   See links below.

Stay tuned and healthy,

Dave

 Links:

Trump Administration  sues Bolton over Book Dispute (includes a link to the lawsuit)

From Amazon:

John Bolton: The Room Where it Happened (June 23, 2020)

Mary Trump:  Too much and never enough: How my family created the world’s most dangerous man (July 2020)

H.R McMasters:  Battlegrounds:  The fight to defend the free world,  Sept 2020

 

The Trump Books

I’m still waiting on my copy of  Fear, by Bob Woodward.  I also have bought Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury.   I like Wolff’s book, and I believe he captured well the dynamics within the White House.    But, these two books, are hated by the White House.   Trump finds equally offensive Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, Truth and Lies,  which is  a biographical account of his time as a prosecutor, a defense of his actions taken during the Clinton email investigation and a scathing critique of Trump based on his interactions with the President. One quote from the book:

“It is also wrong to stand idly by, or worse, to stay silent when you know better, while a president brazenly seeks to undermine public confidence in law enforcement institutions that were established to keep our leaders in check.”

Comey’s book has been criticized because he makes a connection between the traits of mob organizations and the Trump White House.  Understandably, critics were upset, but I don’t feel it was far off the mark.  Two key passages:

“The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”

“This President is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

I should add that Comey is a Republican, who worked at FBI Director under the Obama and Trump administrations.  Trump’s recent attacks on Department of Justice, and the FBI,  particularly the recent  comment on the “lingering stench” in these organizations tells me, Comey was right.

There are a lot of recent books out critical of the Trump administration, including:

“Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House” by Omarosa Manigault Newman,  August 2018

The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game by Kessler, April 2018

Everything Trump Touches Dies by Rick Wilson, August 2018

Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House, by Ryan,  September 2018

The Threat: On how the FBI Protects America in the age of Terror and Trump,  to be published in December 2018.

House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia,  by Unger, August 2018

I guess the title I like most, is Rick Wilson’s  – Everything Trump Touches Dies.

I would add, that many people who voted for him, like his brazen, off the cuff, approach. They consider him an “anti-politician.”    There are a lot of books supporting him personally and laying blame on Democrats and the media. More recent publications are:

“Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy” by Judge Jeanine Pirro

 The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography,  by Brody and Lamb, Feb 2018

“Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump” by Jerome Corsi, March 2018

“The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It” by Andrew Puzder, April 2018

“The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump” by Gregg Jarrett,  July 2018

The Deep State: How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama and Is Working to Destroy the Trump Agenda,  by Jason Chaffetz,  September 2018.

Why We Fight: Defeating America’s Enemies – With No Apologies,  Sebastian Gorka, October 2018

Trump’s America: The Truth about Our Nation’s Great Comeback, Newt Gringrich,  June 2018

The Briefing by Sean Spicer,  July 2018

There are less political books, focusing more on specific issues,  for instance,  Alan Dershowitz:

 The Case Against Impeaching Trump,  Alan Dershowitz, July 2018

This book has the blessing of Donald Trump.   Given Professor Dershowitz credentials as a long time educator at Harvard Law School, it is probably my next Amazon purchase. In an impeachment process, the legislature overrides the choice of the electorate and diminishes the voting rights of the populace.     Alan Dershowitz is a strong supporter of civil liberties. ‘

OK,  I’ve listed out 9 “Anti-Trump”  books and 9 “Pro-Trump” books,  and I think  Alan Dershowitz book in its own category.   I think his book will have lasting value, particularly if someday,  Republicans decide to impeach a Democrat president.

I don’t claim this list to be all inclusive.  I know Steven Colbert has just  announced a children’s book making fun of Trump’s  visit to the hurricane stricken areas called “My Boat.”   I pretty much dismiss any author which claims to have written the only book, giving Americans the “true facts.”   Every single one of the books, listed above, has a unique perspective and a lot of commentary along with facts.   I would suggest anyone buying any of these books, first check the author’s biography, usually available on Wikipedia.   The biography presented in Amazon are written by the author and always complimentary.  If you see a book had 4 to 5 star rating,  you should know that this is done by counting clicks, and every book listed above has about the same ratings.    It’s really pretty worthless.

All of these books are sold on Amazon.  Most are available in Kindle versions.   Many are advertised as “#1 on the best seller list”  but this is misleading because there are many “best seller” lists and a huge number of  categories.   For example, Omarosa’s book ranks high on a few select categories on Amazon,  but her overall rank is #864.   The best seller rank will tend to decline over time.   Comey’s book has a rank of #1140 and was published in April 2018.    Obviously, television appearances help advance the book.

I hope to update this blog as more books are published.  Anyone can suggest adding to the list, as long as it has been published in 2018.

Stay tuned,

Dave