Bolton’s Book “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir”

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton has written his third book, entitled, “The Room Where It Happened” which according to  Amazon.com will be published in hard copy and on Kindle on March 17, 2020.   Amazon is accepting pre-publication orders.  I bought a copy from Amazon.     It isn’t my normal reading.  I disagree with his basic philosophy of using the threat of  military power in every way possible to promote US interests.   In one editorial in the New York Times,  he was aptly described as the least diplomatic diplomat.   I have posted his biography from Wikipedia under links.

Thanks to the impeachment hearings, John Bolton has now gotten heaps of criticism from the party he has always supported – the Republicans.   It has guaranteed that his hawkish views will be heard – either in his book or on social media. He appeared very often on Fox News during the Obama era.   It seemed he was critical of almost every initiative undertook by Obama with respect to international policy and cooperation.   At every turn, he would fall back to the idea that America would be better off going it alone.

But, I bought the book, because I am certain he will corroborate the testimony of others in the impeachment trial.  I’m sure Bolton feels a sense of betrayal from Trump, who could not separate his role as president, setting incredibly important policy decisions  from that of a candidate for re-election.

The current controversy is whether the manuscript can be published without changes.    A restraining order, preventing Simon and Schuster from publishing the book is possible, but likely to be ineffective, as I am certain  excepts will appear in the press.   A restraining order will only make the book more popular.

The Supreme Court case, “The New York Times v.  United States” was decided 38 years ago (I remember it, wow am I that old!) in favor of the New York Times publishing excerpts from the Pentagon Papers, a leaked government document reviewing the history of the Vietnam War, as prepared by the Department of Defense.   Three conservative judges (Burger, Harlan and Blackmun) dissented.  See links.

The lead story in today’s New York Times is: “Attacking Bolton, Republicans Push to Swiftly Acquit. Confident they can block witnesses.   The White House and Senate Republicans worked aggressively on Wednesday to discount damaging revelations from John R, Bolton and line up the votes to block new witnesses from testifying in President Trump’s impeachment trial, in a push to bring the proceeding to a swift close.”  A vote on witnesses may occur tomorrow, Friday January 31.  Without witnesses, the trial could end next week, before the State of the Union address.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Amazon, The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir, accepting pre-publication orders, available March 17, 2020

Wikipedia:  John Bolton

Wikipedia:  New York Times v.  United States (1971)

(yes- I know the actual case name is a bit longer and includes the case against the Washington Post.   The case was part of the C-Span series on Landmark Supreme Court cases. See

C-Span Landmark Supreme Court Decisions:  New York Times v United States

At issue was whether our First Amendment rights of a free speech could be limited by the government’s claim of harming to national security, because it relied on confidential information.  I believe after publication, it became clear that Pentagon Papers were an excellent historical account of events leading to our involvement in the Vietnam war.

 

 

 

Zeroing in on John Bolton

Chuck Schumer has no real say in the impeachment trial.  Same goes with Adam Schiff.  Senate rules according to the majority.   The Senate has 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats.

The trial is actually just beginning.  However, everyone  knows exactly how this trial will end – 53 for acquital, and 47 for guilty. There is no chance in hell to convict the president.  It is not a matter of the evidence not being strong enough; it is a matter that the Republicans control the Senate and it takes a two-thirds majority to convict a President.  Never been done in our history, and this will be the third time impeachment has ended in acquittal.

It takes 4 Republican Senators to leap over the fence and join Democrats in calling for witnesses.   There’s a ton of speculation out there, and personally I don’t think it will happen.   I can see very well why Democrats are pushing for witnesses.  Adam Schiff provided a history of impeachment trials against federal judges and two presidents (Clinton and Andrew Johnson), and every trial had witnesses.  I think the average was around 20 witnesses.  I think Schumer recognized  he had to cut back his list so Mulvaney, Blair and Duffey (see last post)  no longer seem front and center.  If called to testify, Mulvaney would have to walk back his  press conference comment admitting to a quid pro quo when asked, making it even worse with “We do it all the time.”  Mulvaney is Trump’s right hand man,  getting Michael Duffey to alert the Defense Department of the hold on Ukrainian aid and for them to keep the hold secret  immediately following Trump’s call.

Bolton’s testimony will be a lot more straight forward.   Every conversation that Bolton had with Trump and his staff including Fiona Hill, Tim Morrison,  Marie Yovanavitch, David Holmes, Bill Taylor  and Ambassador Sondland would be collaborated.   His testimony would  further corroborates Rudy Giuliani involvement.   Both Mulvaney and Bolton were in the room with Trump, but only John Bolton appears to willingly testify.   The hold was orchestrated by Mulvaney despite being  opposed by John Bolton.

Schumer and Schiff are using cable TV broadcasts to argue for the necessity of witnesses, most notably CNN and MSNBC.   Meanwhile,  Republicans Senators and the White House Legal Counsel generally goes on Fox News and OAN (One American News) to blast Democrats on this issue.   One argument is that the Democrats failed in the House to get all witnesses, so now they are trying to get them in the Senate.  Of course, they tried to have many more witnesses in the House, but the invited witnesses, such as Bolton,  declined the invitation or subpoenas.

Schumer is under pressure also to conclude the trial because Sanders, Klobuchar and Warren must attend the trial and cannot campaign in Iowa.   I believe this is the real motivation right now to zero in on getting  Bolton to testify in one short explosive session.  Four hours of Bolton beats 12 hours of Schiff on cable TV.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Changes in the Administration

I did not  comment on the firing of Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State or Andrew McCabe,  Deputy Director of the FBI.  In both cases, I was really hoping that Trump would not fire them.   Rex Tillerson seemed to be working in the same mode as John Kerry and Hillary Clinton,  with a lot of travel and face to face meetings.   I think this was particularly important. He did not take sides in the Saudi Arabia – Qatar crisis, as Trump had done, but stated we would help facilitate an eventual end to the blockade of Qatar.  He understood the priority should be in Middle East unity in fighting terrorism, and Qatar with a US military base has helped this effort.   Trump on the other hand,  seems to want to intensify the Sunni-Shia rift, siding with the Saudi’s and against Iran.

There are hot spots all over the world, Yemen,  Somalia, Libya and northern Syria.   It is the United States “soft power”  that  helps keep the peace.    Proxy wars intensify as outsiders supply the equipment, making any negotiations more difficult.  Syria, Libya and Yemen are classic proxy wars.  There should be widespread condemnation of massive human rights violations,  the most recent on in the ethnic cleaning in Myanmar of the Rohingya,  the 600,000 survivors of this genocide are now living in Bangladesh.  I don’t think Mike Pompeo is ready to look beyond partisan politics.

There is no question that Andrew McCabe was fired from the FBI, as was Director James Comey, because he was doing his job, and would not be influenced by politics.   Russian meddling in the US elections to help Trump win the elections did happen.   The manner of the firing of Tillerson,  Comey and McCabe,  through Twitter or the media,  showed Trump could a very mean and disrespectful.

Now,  I am very fearful of Trump’s  new administration selections, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and John Bolton, National Security Adviser.

The most urgent decision is on Iran, and the likely US pull out of the Iran nuclear accord in May 2018.  In the House,  Mike Pompeo led the charge against the Iran Nuclear Deal.  The New Times editorial on John Bolton, was scathing:

Yes, John Bolton is really that bad

The good thing about John Bolton, President Trump’s new national security adviser, is that he says what he thinks.

The bad thing is what he thinks.

There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made. His selection, along with the nomination of the hard-line C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, as secretary of state, shows the degree to which Mr. Trump is indulging his worst nationalistic instincts.

Mr. Bolton, in particular, believes the United States can do what it wants without regard to international law, treaties or the political commitments of previous administrations.

He has argued for attacking North Korea to neutralize the threat of its nuclear weapons, which could set off a horrific war costing tens of thousands of lives. At the same time, he has disparaged diplomatic efforts, including the talks planned in late May between Mr. Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. He not only wants to abrogate the six-party deal that, since 2015, has significantly limited Iran’s nuclear program; he has called for bombing Iran instead. He has also maligned the United Nations and other multilateral conventions, as Mr. Trump has done, favoring unilateral solutions.

Over a 30-year career in which he served three Republican presidents, including as United Nations ambassador and the State Department’s top arms control official, Mr. Bolton has largely disdained diplomacy and arms control in favor of military solutions; no one worked harder to blow up the 1994 agreement under which North Korea’s plutonium  program was frozen for nearly eight years in exchange for heavy fuel oil and other assistance. The collapse of that agreement helped bring us to the crisis today, where North Korea is believed to have 20 or more nuclear weapons.

The editorial goes on to show how often Bolton dismissed diplomacy and US soft power to create a more peaceful world.  Instead,  the one well woven thread, was that we should use military action to support our objectives, no matter what the consequences were, including international condemnation.  As National Security Adviser, Bolton does not need congressional approval.

One last entry into the White House staff,  is  combative lawyer Joseph diGenova, replacing John Dowd.  As Trump explained, “I’m fucking do it my way”  which is never be defensive,  never apologize, but to launch an aggressive attack on those he considers in his way.   It is more of “do them harm before they can get going at you.”   DiGenova claimed the Russian investigation was all a big conspiracy,  and Donald Trump was being framed.  So, it’s fine to trash the Justice Department, FBI and CIA, as an acceptable defense.  And of course, the mainstream media.

So, we have a case of out with the good or not so bad,  Gen McMasters,  Rex Tillerson, Andrew McCabe, and I guess John Dowd,  and in with the bad to terrible,  John Bolton,  Mike Pompeo and Joseph DiGenova.

I have not added links to this story, as there are many editorials on the White House changes available on the Internet.  The month of May is looking to be particularly  bad, with both the North Korea summit and the Iran Nuclear Deal on the table.

Stay tuned,

Dave