Tag:Bolton privilege

Bolton MUST Testify: Bolton and Trump Met One on One About Ukraine Funds

Some way, somehow, John Bolton needs to have his ass dragged in front of Adam Schiff’s committee. There is no excuse in my mind for going forward with the impeachment phase without hearing directly from the man in the middle of it, a man arguing with Trump to release the funds. From the NY Times: John R. Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, met privately with the president in August as part of a bid to persuade Mr. Trump to release $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine, a senior National Security Council aide told House impeachment investigators last month. The meeting, which has not been previously reported, came as Mr. Bolton sought to marshal Mr. Trump’s cabinet secretaries and top national security advisers to convince the president that it was in the United States’ best interest to unfreeze the funds to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia. But Mr. Bolton emerged with Mr. Trump unmoved, and instructed the aide to look for new opportunities to get those officials in front of Mr. Trump. We need to hear exactly how Trump justified not releasing the funds. John Bolton is a critical part of the story in that he heard that justification. The tide has turned against Trump, the courts have been against Trump’s privilege claims of late and will continue to go against Trump as he weakens. Tangentially, a staffer from the Office of Management and Budget testified to the committee, and his testimony was released through the transcript yesterday: “The extent of my recollection is that Ambassador Bolton simply said he wasn’t ready to do it,” said the aide, Timothy Morrison, referring to Mr. Trump, according to a transcript of his testimony released by House Democrats on Saturday. John Bolton is without a doubt the single most important witness in this entire matter. He needs to testify, period. Bolton appears willing but wants the courts to vitiate the privilege claim. Meanwhile, the Democrats want his testimony and expect Bolton to testify on his own, just as Yovanovitch and Taylor did. But unlike the others, Bolton would testify to direct statements made by Trump, to which a stronger executive privilege claim might apply. But, more importantly, Bolton wants to protect book sales (or at least it appears he is trying to protect book sales). He wants to “make news” in his book, not at the microphone. Meanwhile, on Saturday, the House committee to Mark Sandy’s deposition. Sandy is a senior budget official who testified that political appointees above him didn’t say why the money set for Ukraine had been put on hold. Interestingly, Sandy – like others – sought legal guidance with regard to what to do in response. Sandy’s request for legal help should leave paper trail that the House ought to be able to discover, if they can ever bust through the privilege claim. Back to Bolton. The NY Times story sheds light on just how desperately Bolton worked to get around the “dual-tracked” foreign policy initiatives run out of the White House, the official track and the campaign against Biden track. Mr. Morrison’s testimony added to a portrait of Mr. Bolton working feverishly to ensure the regular interagency policymaking of the executive branch prevailed over an irregular policy channel that appeared meant to serve Mr. Trump’s personal political […]

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