Videos of former Trump national security advisor, John Bolton have surfaced that seemingly conflict with the controversial passages in his linked book. So much so, that they have prompted President Trump to tweet, “Game Over,” upon learning of them.
In his tweet, Trump linked to an interview of Bolton in August 2019 where he discusses Ukraine policy. In the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty interview clip, Bolton made no mention of any illicit quid pro quo, and acknowledged, as Republicans have claimed, that combating “corruption” in Ukraine was a “high priority” for the Trump administration.
“I will be meeting President Zelensky. He and President Trump have already spoken twice. The president called to congratulate President Zelensky on his election and on his success in the parliamentary election,” the clip shows Bolton saying of the calls.
He then goes on to say, “They were very warm and cordial calls. We’re hoping they’ll be able to meet in Warsaw for a few minutes together, because the success of Ukraine, maintaining its free, its system of representative government, a free-market economy free of corruption, and dealing with the problems of the Danbass in the Crimea are high priorities here, obviously, but high priorities for the United States, as well.”
The clip seemingly contradicts reported assertions in Bolton’s forthcoming book that Trump explicitly told him he wanted to tie military aid to Ukraine to an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.
The clip, and the president’s use of the words, “Game Over,” seem to indicate that if he had any fear that the Bolton allegations could in any way reverse his inevitable acquittal in the Senate, such fears have passed.
As icing on the cake, other Bolton damning videos — that were not connected to the “game over” tweet — were released by Fox News. In these, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., now the lead House impeachment manager, can be seen saying that Bolton had a distinct “lack of credibility” and was prone to “conspiracy theories.” However, duing this week’s trial, Schiff said Bolton needed to testify in the impeachment trial as “an important and believable witness.”
The clip is of Schiff speaking to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, from March of 2018, when Bolton was first named as Trump’s new NSA. “This is someone who’s likely to exaggerate the dangerous impulses of the president toward belligerence, his proclivity to act without thinking, and his love of conspiracy theories,” Schiff said.
Seemingly responding to charges of hypocrisy, Schiff remarked on the Senate floor late Wednesday, “I’m no fan of John Bolton, but I like him a little more now than I used to.”
Meanwhile the White House asserted that it has concerns over their being a significant amount of classified information in Bolton’s manuscript. On Wednesday, the White House revealed it had told Bolton not to publish his upcoming tell-all book about his time in the Trump administration until classified material is removed from the manuscript.
Whether or not the Senate will vote to call Bolton as a witness — or whether he will legally be able to testify — remain open questions.
Any witness resolution would likely require four Republican defections in the Senate, because in the event of a 50-50 tie, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts is highly likely to abstain rather than assert his debatable power to cast a tie-breaking vote. The witness question will be decided later this week, after the question-and-answer session of the trial wraps up.