Ambulatory mustache John Bolton has been on a real tear of a book tour this past week, shopping around his White House memoir, The Room Where It Happened. Though the book isn’t quite as juicy as the hype, Bolton does reportedly repeatedly paint the picture of an unfit president rife with incompetence, corruption, and potential crime—all of which you’d think Congress would have wanted to hear during the impeachment trial.
This very question has come up a couple of times during Bolton’s book tour. His response? The Democrats were going to fuck up anyway, so why bother. (Also, a multimillion-dollar book advance, royalties, speaker’s fees, infamy...)
Bolton spoke with NPR’s Steve Inskeep over the weekend, who asked the former White House national security adviser why he didn’t bring up, say, Trump’s alleged quid-pro-quo meddling in China, or the fact that Trump allegedly kept trying to intervene in U.S. law enforcement, or that the whole Ukraine thing—the incident that impeachment was predicated on—“was bad policy, questionable legally and unacceptable as presidential behavior.” Bolton refused to testify before the House and said he’d be willing to testify in front of the Senate, knowing full well they’d never subpoena him. But if he thought Trump was a “danger to the Republic,” as he told ABC News’s Martha Raddatz on Sunday night, why would he not aid the House in attempting to remove him from office?
“My view is that the way the House Democrats set up the impeachment process, that they, in effect, set themselves up for failure, right at the beginning,” Bolton told NPR. “I considered their strategy to be impeachment malpractice.” He argued that the Democrats turned impeachment into a “bitterly partisan debate” that played right into the Senate’s hands, and was more “virtue signaling” than an effective effort to impeach and convict Trump.
Bolton told Raddatz pretty much the same thing.“The only way to win an impeachment would be to get Republicans to go along, and the Democrats abandoned that idea almost before they got started,” he said. “The House Democrats built a cliff, they threw themselves off it and halfway down they looked up and saw me and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come along?’” The Democrats? Screw something up? I can’t believe it.
Allegedly, Bolton thought it would be better to publish a Trump-excoriating book close to the election. He could have testified and published a book, albeit a slightly less juicy (and therefore slightly less profitable) one. Considering the deadly pandemic, crummy economy, and national uprisings about racism and police brutality, Trump’s corruption and complete disregard of the democratic process seems almost quaint.
So, in exchange for our national security, now Bolton has that aforementioned advance and future royalties, provided the Justice Department doesn’t successfully sue him and take it all away. Wouldn’t that be a shame?