One of Trump’s closest White House advisers admits that ‘it’s hard to describe how little he knows’

The disgraced former president’s top national security adviser has been doing a slew of interviews the past few weeks. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, John Bolton, like most former national security advisers, has found himself being asked for his opinion on rapidly changing events. John Bolton’s bona fides as a truly terrifying warmonger span decades, and he has been critical of Trump—for a price. Bolton says what most of us already know: Trump’s extortion attempts, in the form of holding back military aid from Ukraine in order to dig up dirt on then-candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter, is a big part of the reason Vladimir Putin did not invade Ukraine until now.

“He obviously saw that Trump had contempt for the Ukrainians. I think that had an impact,” Bolton told VICE earlier this month. Bolton goes on to detail a phone conversation Trump had with Vladimir Putin, shortly after Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected, during which Trump asked Putin how he felt about him. According to Bolton, Trump’s lack of knowledge and backbone in that conversation likely reinforced Putin’s belief that Trump didn’t have strong feelings in support of Ukraine’s leadership.

Trump’s choice to bring Bolton on to replace H.R. McMaster was considered ominous at the time, since Bolton’s No. 1 foreign policy idea has always seemed to be “invade everybody.” But Bolton was in the rooms where Donald Trump conducted foreign policy discussions and played little brother to Putin. “Trump had no idea what the stakes were in Ukraine,” Bolton said.

Related: John Bolton is a warmongering jackass who just happens to have information vital to the nation

Related: Trump is replacing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster with warmonger John Bolton

Related: Lou Dobbs offers up conspiracy theory that John Bolton is working for the 'deep state'

Bolton also pointed out that Trump’s general dislike of NATO, and his work to undermine NATO, worked in favor of Putin’s position. Trump’s interest in Ukraine, according to Bolton’s book, only perked up in “the summer of 2019 when [Trump] realized that he could have the possibility of holding up the obligation and delivery of substantial security assistance [to Ukraine] in an effort to get access to the Hillary Clinton computer server that he felt was in Ukraine, finding out about Hunter Biden’s income in Ukraine, and all of these things in this spaghetti bowl of conspiracy theories. That was the first time he really focused.”

In fact, Bolton explained to VICE, Trump’s lack of curiosity for anything is profound. “It's hard for me to describe how little he knows,” Bolton tried to explain. This true mediocrity is why Trump’s reasoning for things is so whimsical and useless. He has no context or knowledge for much of anything. “He once asked [then-White House Chief of Staff] John Kelly if Finland was part of Russia. What he cared about was the DNC server, and Hunter Biden, and the 2016 election, and the 2020 election. That's what it was all about. And I think he had next to no idea what the larger issues were.”

As a result, Vladimir Putin didn’t have to be aggressive about much of anything regarding U.S. policy in the region. “I think one of the reasons that Putin did not move during Trump’s term in office was he saw the president’s hostility of NATO. Putin saw Trump doing a lot of his work for him, and thought, maybe in a second term, Trump would make good on his desire to get out of NATO, and then it would just ease Putin’s path just that much more.” In another interview, Bolton said of Trump’s threats to pull out of NATO, “I think Putin was waiting for that.”

Bolton’s beef with Trump has also led him to rail against the right-wing narrative that Trump was tough on Putin, with the U.S. under Trump applying sanctions to Russia. “In almost every case, the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard,” told Newsmax when that ultra-right-wing outlet tried to get him to go along with the narrative that Biden was at fault for everything in the history of ever.

Bolton, in an interview with the Washington Post earlier in March, Bolton said that he believed Vladimir Putin’s lack of open invasion of Ukraine during the Trump administration was possibly predicated on the Russian dictator’s belief that Trump would pull the United States out of NATO during a second term in office.

Arguably the saddest exchange between Bolton and VICE’s interviewer is the one when Bolton says he is unsure what Trump would have done if Russia had invaded Ukraine when Trump was in office. He joked, “He never got that server! Those Ukrainians wouldn’t give him the server!” The interviewer remarked that Ukraine probably wished that this mythical server with Hillary’s secret plans existed so they could have ingratiated themselves to Trump. Bolton’s reply, also clearly joking (or half-joking, at least) sounds like something Trump and the MAGA world would have held up as proof, not the absurdist joke it would have been:

“They should have given him a server and said, ‘Hey, we found that—may have been erased, but here's the server.’”

Hillary Clinton has to be tired of waiting 4 years for the country to realize she was right

Hillary Clinton called it four years ago when she pointed out then-Republican nominee Donald Trump’s propensity to cry system rigging when he happened to face an undesired result. "You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him," she said during the final presidential debate of 2016. "He lost the Iowa caucus. He lost the Wisconsin primary. He said the Republican primary was rigged against him. Then Trump University gets sued for fraud and racketeering; he claims the court system and the federal judge is rigged against him. There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him. This, this is a mindset. This is how Donald thinks, and it's funny. But it's also really troubling."

Most of us are seeing the “really troubling” part now amid Trump’s effort and Republican leaders’ collective blind eye to discrediting Trump’s election loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Former national security advisor John Bolton said Sunday on ABC's "This Week," Trump isn’t exactly acting out of character, so it’s time for other Republicans to start setting a better example. “It's critical for other Republican leaders to stand up and explain what actually happened: Donald Trump lost what, by any evidence we have so far, was a free and fair election,” Bolton said.

#MarchForTrump #TrumpConcede #MillionMAGAMarch She warned us. Just sayin pic.twitter.com/kbeX7O9L1r

— sketchy_Jeff (@sketchy_jeff) November 14, 2020

I remember with great detail when the former secretary of state had to concede the 2016 election to a reality TV star. I can't imagine the humility that took, but she did it. Trump at least gets to concede to a former vice president, but he’s making no such concession by his account. He’s instead taken to his usual name-calling and alleging that the election was “rigged” against him. 

Rudy will be interviewed by @MariaBartiromo at 10:00 A.M. NOW! https://t.co/ExPIgqtIAV

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020

“John Bolton was one of the dumbest people in government that I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ to work with,” the president tweeted Sunday. “A sullen, dull and quiet guy, he added nothing to National Security except, ‘Gee, let’s go to war.’ Also, illegally released much Classified Information. A real dope!”

NEW: Former National Security Adviser John Bolton urges GOP leadership to "explain to our voters... that in fact Trump has lost the election and that these claims of election fraud are baseless." https://t.co/z6SZ06zbP3 pic.twitter.com/GyXya7xYAv

— ABC News (@ABC) November 15, 2020

That “dope” has been through five presidential transitions, Bolton pointed out on Twitter. “...and every day that he delays under the pretense that he's simply asking for his legal remedies ultimately is to the country's disadvantage,” Bolton said of the president.

In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Bolton also negated the previously floated theory that accepting the election results would cost Republican leaders too high a political price. "Well, I have trust in the Republican voters. I believe that if their leaders explain to them that Trump lost fair and square, and that the facts do not support his claims that the election was stolen, that they will come to accept it,” Bolton said. “But if they only hear from Donald Trump it’s not unnatural for them to think, ‘since nobody else on our side of the aisle is disagreeing that what he’s saying is accurate,’ and I think that lays the basis for real distrust in the system, casting doubt on the integrity of our electoral system, the constitutional process.”

Fmr. US national security adviser John Bolton says history will remember Donald Trump "as a failed President." "He missed a huge... range of opportunities internationally for the United States because he couldn't focus his attention long enough to develop coherent policies." pic.twitter.com/dVEHaLloXk

— CNN (@CNN) November 15, 2020

Bolton’s not wrong, a bit hypocritical considering he wasn’t exactly willing to take a step outside of party lines to divulge details that could’ve been useful during Trump’s impeachment hearings. Then, he was perfectly content solely dangling knowledge of the president’s alleged quid pro quo to promote sales of his book, but now he’s calling on the same Republicans he mimicked in cowardice to risk themselves to acknowledge the truth. Something in me says it just doesn’t work that way, but I’ll admit it would be nice. "We need Republicans to tell the truth too,” Bolton said. “It's not that hard." Apparently, it is. 

RELATED: Trump's lawsuit against John Bolton is pointless, incompetent, and weak

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Bolton claims he wanted to release information during impeachment, was blocked by White House

John Bolton wrote a book. That seems kind of hard to remember now, but you may recall it as the one that came out just before the one from Donald Trump’s niece that confirms Trump as “the dumbest student” his school had ever seen, and before the book by Bob Woodward that explains how Trump knew about the deadliness of COVID-19, but decided to ignore it because he thought it would be a political “win.” But it was definitely after the 40-something other books (not kidding) about Trump. Somewhere in there.

Once upon a time—with that time being, unbelievably enough, the first month of this interminable year—what Bolton had to say might have mattered. With multiple witnesses at Trump’s impeachment having parts of the story about the effort to extort lies from the government of Ukraine, Bolton was uniquely positioned to fill in critical gaps. His testimony might have carried weight and had historical significance. Senate Republicans eventually voted that they didn’t want to hear from Bolton, or from anyone else, but well before that the former national security adviser made it clear that he wasn’t interested in talking anyway. He was saving it all for his book, where it wouldn’t do a damn thing for the nation but could earn him a tidy profit. Bolton, through his personal decisions, made himself into a minor footnote. 

Even so, it seems that the effort to suppress his book went deeper than has been known, and included interfering with a routine investigation. Because thanks to men like Bolton, there are no rules.

Bolton’s book was originally slated to appear in March. That was then pushed back to May, and eventually slid into June. The biggest reason for the slide was that even though the manuscript had been sitting with the White House for months, the publisher could not get a signal that the book did not contain classified information. Such investigations are routine, and usually result in either a thumbs-up or a list of information that needs to be removed or edited before publication.

That didn’t happen in this case. As the book rolled on toward its final publication date, Trump accused Bolton of knowingly including classified information. The William Barr Justice Department trotted off to do what they always do: act as Trump’s personal attorneys in court. That attempt to block release of the book eventually failed—not least of all because Barr moved at a point where the book was literally on the shelves of bookstores nationwide. However, the judge did have harsh words for Bolton, suggesting that he could forfeit that much-desired profit and possibly face additional penalties for the release of confidential information.

But now it seems that it wasn’t just Barr who was responsible for putting the book on hold. Because other members of Trump’s team interfered with the routine security clearance review of the book, purposely holding the book up to diminish its impact. Meaning that even as they were taking Bolton to court for moving ahead without getting clearance, they were also making sure that he never got clearance.

Bolton’s attorneys made this claim in a letter to the court on Tuesday. As The New York Times reports, Bolton now claims that he wanted to release one portion of his book—a portion relevant to the impeachment trial—at that time. But White House aides blocked the security review even though Bolton didn’t believe that there was any classified material in the section.

At the heart of this appears to be a lawyer named Michael Ellis who was a former assistant to (of course) Rep. Devin Nunes. Despite no background or training in security reviews, Ellis directed the official in charge of the security review to put a freeze on Bolton’s manuscript while he conducted “his own review of the book.” It was Ellis who then claimed that the book was “replete” with classified information. Ellis’ review then became the basis of the Department of Justice claims against Bolton.

No one is crying for John Bolton. Or his mustache. And at this point, the idea that he might have released some information at the time of the impeachment except for some maneuver by the White House dodges the fact that Bolton could have stepped in front of every news camera in the country and told everyone what he knew. However, the attempt to stifle Bolton is just another example of the lengths that the Trump White House has gone to to silence dissent, and the willingness of every Republican involved to throw “normal process” in the waste bin. 

Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into John Bolton over his anti-Trump book

Donald Trump is good for literature. Actually … that’s overstating it. A lot. But Trump is certainly good for publishers, and for dramatic titles. In one-word titles alone, it’s possible to build a pretty decent description of Trump using Rage, Unhinged, Disloyal, Fear, Hoax. You certainly don’t have to go to Insane Clown President, but … that’s also not a bad description.

The last few weeks have seen Trump’s leveraging his family to fight—and fail—to stop the publication of a book by his niece Mary Trump, and books by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and former journalist Bob Woodward. The trio of tomes are all hot off the presses and still in the headlines. But it requires rewinding to June 20 (also known as March the 121st , in pandemic dating) to find the focus of Trump’s current disloyal, unhinged, rage hoax. That was the date that a federal judge dismissed attempts by the White House to block publication of John Bolton’s book detailing his time as Trump’s national security adviser. 

During that court case, the judge pointed out multiple times that Trump was attempting to block a book that had already been printed, distributed to warehouses, was on the shelves at thousands of stores, and had already been read by hundreds of critics and journalists. Open barn door? Meet horse. But the judge did not address claims from the Department of Justice that Bolton may have violated national security, though he noted if it was true, Bolton could lose all the profits from the book deal that kept him conveniently mum during Trump’s impeachment. And now the Justice Department has announced an investigation into Bolton because … sure, why not?

The book has been on the stands for four months and is no longer hanging onto a slot in even an extended list of best sellers. There’s nothing to be gained by going after Bolton other than the demonstration that people like Roger Stone, convicted of multiple crimes, get to walk away for being Trump’s pals, while people like Bolton get the weight of the DOJ tossed their way for the crime of insufficient toadying.

But it’s hard to feel like there’s a good guy on either side of this case. After all, Bolton failed to come forward when his testimony mattered, what he ultimately revealed was confirmation of things that had already been stated, and … he’s John Bolton. The best possible ending for this story is that both Trump and Bolton come out with their sub-mud reputations sullied by whatever it is that’s worse than mud.

According to The New York Times, a team within the DOJ has convened a grand jury to hear evidence about Bolton’s use of classified information in his book, aka I couldn’t think of a title so I just stole a line from Hamilton. Bolton has denied that he published classified information. Trump has argued back that Bolton is “a dope” and “incompetent” and “a washed up creepster who … should be in jail” for “trying to make me look bad.” It’s unclear if the grand jury will reward these rubber-meets-glue arguments with an indictment, but it would probably be pretty interesting—and kind of hilarious—to hear the presentation. 

And yes, to be honest it’s clear that the White House purposely refused to provide Bolton with responses on the classification of his submitted manuscript simply in an effort to delay publication and provide Trump with leverage to do exactly what he’s doing right now: conduct a political persecution of a perceived enemy. Bolton shouldn’t face charges for purely political reasons, if for no other reason than on a “first they came for John Bolton, and ...” basis. Still, every DOJ official tied up with going after John Bolton could be busy persecuting a human being instead, so let’s hope this takes some time. And please, if someone is going to leak classified information, how about the transcripts for the presentation to the grand jury?

Trump’s attempt to block release of John Bolton’s book denied by federal judge

Judge Royce Lamberth has denied Donald Trump’s attempt to block the release of John Bolton’s book. In the ruling, Lamberth says that the presentation from William Barr’s DOJ team failed to “established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy.”

During the presentation on Friday, Lamberth repeatedly pointed out that the book was, in fact, already published, printed, in the hands of reviewers, and stacked up in both warehouses and bookstores. Digital versions have also been produced, along with audiobooks. He asked the DOJ “what do you want me to do about it?” and got back a fumbling response about possibly blocking the release in ways that seemed about as well thought out as most things emerging from this White House. In his ruling, Lamberth makes it clear that he was unimpressed: “For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir.”

None of this makes Bolton’s book worth buying. The former National Security Advisor’s demonstrated cowardice and greed in refusing to testify before the House impeachment proceedings showed clearly enough that he placed potential profits infinitely above the good of the nation. 

Over the next few days, as the embargo is released, all the “good parts” of Bolton’s book will be made public in any case—including information this morning that makes it clear that Donald Trump was mad at the U. S. attorney who Barr is trying to kick out in part because that attorney screwed up a scheme between Trump and a Turkish bank. And no one really wants to read John Bolton’s opinion on anything. Ever.

Lamberth’s ruling makes it clear that Bolton may have violated national security and that he, “stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security.” However, none of that means that this last second maneuver can stop the release of the book.

So Trump loses. Barr loses. And Bolton also loses. That’s a good ruling.

The ruling from judge Lamberth just establishes—again—how willing Bill Barr is to use the Justice Department as if it is Trump’s private law firm. And how amazingly incompetent Barr is in just about every instance. But it also shows that Bolton’s cowardly action is unlikely to net him a dime. You have to like that.

Senate Republicans recommit themselves to Trump—no matter how much he endangers the country

Sure, Donald Trump is unfit. Sure, Trump may have begged yet another country—China—to help him win reelection. Sure, Trump is emotionally damaged and intellectually addled, according to a written account by his former national security adviser John Bolton. 

But does that matter to the Senate Republicans who cosigned Trump's presidency by saving him from conviction without hearing from a single witness? Are you high? No effing way do they have the integrity required for a little self-examination, according to CNN reporting. They're in the tank for Trump—always have been, always will be, no matter what.

Wanna give Senate Republicans the boot? Give $2 right now to say “Bye Felicia” this November.

Asked whether Senate Republicans should have sought to secure Bolton's testimony now that his book is out, the ever-reflective Sen. Ron Johnson responded, "No," adding, "We never should have had an impeachment trial."

Of course, that's not what Bolton said. Based on Trump's persistent pattern of placing his own personal and electoral needs over duty to the country, Bolton said Trump should have been investigated and impeached for more, not less. Trump engaged in "obstruction of justice as a way of life," as Bolton said, referring to his interventions in criminal investigations for personal favors.

Still, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who's likely one of the top two most-endangered GOP senators seeking reelection, had the nerve to speak up and blame House Democrats for not taking Bolton to court over this unwillingness to testify. "The House didn't think it was important," Sen. Gardner quipped. What a weasel. Bolton, who's no hero, did publicly express his willingness to testify in front of the GOP-led Senate—the Republican caucus just refused to hear from him, or any other witnesses for that matter.

The sole Republican senator to express regret about not hearing from Bolton also voted in favor of having witnesses at the trial. “I wish we had a trial with the people testifying under oath,” Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters.

But most Republicans did the only logical thing one could do in the face of a 500-page manuscript documenting the myriad ways in which Trump is selling out and endangering the country: They refused to comment. 

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, however, really went the extra mile, affirming that he's more convinced than ever that Trump's the right guy for the job despite begging China to buy more agricultural products in order to secure his reelection. "Different people use different sales techniques," Barrasso offered. Whether they’re legal or not apparently isn’t relevant. "Every president has, one way or another, thought they ought to be reelected. I think President Trump should be reelected. I support his reelection, I'm for it."

Do Republicans even know the Constitution exists? They are  proving themselves more useless by the day, and have no business stewarding the country.

Trump’s lawsuit against John Bolton is pointless, incompetent, and weak

A million years ago, in the time before the coronavirus pandemic—a time also known as January—former National Security Advisor John Bolton had a chance to do this nation a solid. In both the House and the Senate, testimony in Donald Trump’s impeachment made it clear that Bolton was a key witness to the events during which Trump had attempted to suborn false statements from the Ukrainian government in an attempt to get a political edge over Joe Biden. Bolton then exacerbated the calls for his appearance at the hearings by leaking excerpts from an upcoming book and promising that there was blockbuster info both in connection to Ukraine and to Trump’s other foreign entanglements.

Even with Republicans putting on a genuinely history show of cowardice in voting to listen to no witnesses at all, Bolton had an opportunity. He didn’t have to testify in the Senate, he just had to … testify. He could have gone on any news show in America and made a genuine impact by revealing the information he knew about Trump’s lies, attempted bribery, incompetence, and profiteering. Instead, Bolton stayed silent, choosing to wait for the moment when his book was released to maximize his own profits while simultaneously assuring that he would not be there when his nation needed him most. So now Bolton’s book is here. Or almost here. Because despite months of review and revision to remove anything that could be considered classified, Donald Trump has now declared that everything is considered classified. Every single word that ever dropped from Trump’s lips has been retroactively classified by Trump. And now he’s suing Bolton to block the release of his book.

Even the title of Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, suggests that Bolton was witness to a crime. And he’ll share the salacious details with the rest of us … for a price. On the one hand, there would be a definite satisfaction if Bolton, who found he liked teasing the nation more than providing vital testimony, never got to profit from his book. His abdication of his responsibilities, not just as a former government official, but as a citizen, was so egregious that watching Bolton and Trump locked in a fruitless legal snarl from now until both have shuffled off, would seem like justice of a sort.

As The New York Times reports, Trump’s suit claims that Bolton has broken an agreement for review of the manuscript and that he’s unilaterally deciding that it’s okay to go forward with the material in the book. Bolton handed over draft copies of the manuscript for review in 2019, and Bolton made changes in response to a set of initial requests. But after that, the response from the Trump White House was to simply not respond. Bolton never got the standard written release to mark the end of the review.

The suit charges Bolton with “breach of contract” in proceeding with publication and distribution of the book without securing that White House approval. Since the Justice Department now acts as Donald Trump’s personal law firm, the DOJ has asked a federal judge to both claw back Bolton’s payment for the book, and tell Bolton to get Simon & Schuster to pull copies from the shelf. The fact that the suit doesn’t name the publisher directly is an indication of just how fragile Trump’s suit really is. There are a semi-infinite number of previous cases that can be referenced when it comes to trying to block the publication of material that’s deemed to be classified, and very few of them are helpful to Trump’s position. So instead the suit skates around trying to extract either money or action directly from the publisher and attempts to both go after Bolton’s pocketbook and force him to act to block sales of the book.

On the one hand, the careful tiptoe made by the DOJ in framing the suit to skirt the publisher is a sign that even William Barr understands how tenuous this attempt to block the book really is. On the other hand, the suit includes claims that Bolton leaked classified information. Leaking classified information is a federal crime. Bolton hasn’t been charged with that crime, but including that claim in the lawsuit certainly suggests that if he doesn’t agree to a further delay of the book, those charges could appear.

But … overall the effort from the DOJ seems to be halfhearted. Everything points to this being more an exercise in Barr making Trump happy than a serious attempt to block publication. Simon & Schuster has actually printed and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of Bolton’s book to warehouses, and even book stories, across the nation. There’s not so much as a request for a restraining order—even a temporary order—that would stop the publisher from simply giving stores the thumbs-up to begin sales.

Trump’s suit seems to be a good deal of smoke, but there’s little sign it contains any fire. Bolton’s book is going to be released. That doesn’t mean it should be bought.

John Bolton speaks in public at critical moment… to deliver a commercial for his unpublished book

For the first time since House managers asked that he be called as a witness in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, a call that Senate Republicans immediately shut down, former national security adviser John Bolton has given a public interview. And the information produced in this appearance isn’t something that should be shocking to most Americans: John Bolton is a jackass.

Bolton’s appearance on Monday at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, was technically to be a discussion of threats to national security. But, as might be expected, most of the questions he was asked concerned Bolton’s time in the Trump White House and the issues that led to Donald Trump’s impeachment. Bolton was given multiple opportunities to speak about Trump’s actions involving Ukraine, or what he knew about the scheme against Joe Biden, or how Trump’s political hit squads smeared and removed the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. And through it all, Bolton had one mustache-twirling response: Buy my book.

That Bolton’s manuscript continues to be held by the White House on claims that it includes highly classified information is itself news. And it’s an issue of genuine concern. Of all the mistakes that Bolton might make, mishandling classified information seems highly unlikely. That the pages have been parked somewhere in a White House sub-basement for this long without even a suggestion as to the exact objections to releasing it is a pretty good indicator that the holdup has nothing to do with Bolton inadvertently revealing something critical to national defense, and everything to do with his being critical of Trump. On that point, what’s happening with Bolton demands not just sympathy, but also attention and demands for more information.

As CNN reports, Bolton talked repeatedly about the "censorship" being applied to his book, about his desire to get events and statements before the public, and about concerns that history be accurately recorded.

That’s all fine. But it’s the way Bolton responded to any factual questions that went instantly beyond off-putting and straight into infuriating. The response to any attempt to solicit information from Bolton or to get him to confirm any item that came up in the House hearings or Senate trial of Trump was never anything more than some variation on “Wait for the book.” The evening was far more a promotion for a book no one can buy than it was a musing on national security.

The highlight in a frustrating list of frustrations may have come when Bolton was asked whether he considered Trump’s July 25 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “perfect,” as Trump has so often called it. "You'll love Chapter 14," said Bolton. It went that way throughout the evening.

Bolton did make broad statements on some topics, such as when he said that he saw from the beginning that Trump’s policies toward North Korea were going to fail. On his signature issue of Iran, Bolton predictably felt that Trump had not applied enough “pressure.” He didn’t quite shout, “Bomb, bomb, bomb” … he only implied it.

But much of the interview devolved into an ouroboros that went from how terrible it was that Bolton’s book was being held to how much he wanted everyone to have access to that sweet, sweet history that’s … in the book. Of course, that history was also in Bolton’s head, and he could have relayed the critical issues to the American public at any moment by just opening his mustache prop and explaining what he knew. Only then, who would buy the book?

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has the ability not just to declassify anything he wants, but also to slap a top-secret classification on anything, up to and including the contents of his taco salad. Whether or not Bolton’s book ever appears, or appears only after adjustments to explain that Trump is the bestest, smartest, handsomest scratch-golfing genius ever, remains an open question. 

Bolton has another interview to give on his tour to promote a book that might never come out. Don’t count on it being any more informative.

Diplomats who risked their careers to tell the truth about Trump face life in a post-cover-up world

One after another, career foreign service professionals came forward to testify about what they saw of Donald Trump’s pressure campaign against Ukraine. They did so, they repeatedly stressed, not out of partisan motives but out of concern for national security. And they’re getting hung out to dry. In interviews with CNN, many of them expressed concern about their careers going forward, after Senate Republicans vote to acquit Trump, and about the damage done to U.S. foreign policy.

“All the carnage for something that doesn't mean very much,” said one. “Our domestic political battles have just trampled over what our national interests are.”

Some, CNN reports, are especially angry with former national security adviser John Bolton, who protected his own future in Republican circles by refusing to testify right up until Senate Republicans could block him from even being asked. Bolton was “trying to have it both ways,” said one of the officials who did testify. “Great. So our lives are ruined, our names dragged through the mud, but [Bolton] gets to wash his hands of it,” said another.

Looming over them is the concern that Trump, with his ever-growing enemies list, will retaliate against anyone who testified. “It would be bad politics for Trump to be seen as going after mid-level folks. And it would take effort,” said one. But “If he is reelected, he will feel emboldened, and this is where he could go after what he deemed the 'Deep State.’”

Moscow Mitch: Master of covering up Trump’s election cheating

Moscow Mitch McConnell, so well-known for, among other things, his efforts to cover up Russia's interference on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 election, is now scorching the political ground of the Senate over the idea that an impeached Trump should be convicted and removed from office for trying to extort and bribe Ukraine into interfering on his behalf in 2020.

In a particularly loathsome and vile performance Tuesday, McConnell said, "It insults the intelligence of the American people to pretend this was a solemn process reluctantly begun because of withheld foreign aid." Which is really a leap, since the majority of the American people support Trump's impeachment and at least pluralities support his removal from office. If the intelligence of the American people is being insulted here, it's by the travesty he and fellow Republicans are inflicting on the republic.

It's time to end McConnell's destructive stranglehold on the republic. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as Senate majority leader.

"We must vote to reject the House's abuse of power," McConnell said, and "vote to keep factional fever from boiling over and scorching our Republic." Yes, this is the same McConnell who has been coordinating with Trump's lawyers—including Pat Cipollone, who turned out to be a material witness to Trump's attempted extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—at every step of the way in this process.

The man who says partisan fever "led to the most rushed, least fair and least thorough presidential impeachment inquiry in American history" is trying to keep "factional fever" from "scorching our Republic." That's really rich. There's only one answer from a smart American public: We end his Senate majority.