Wednesday, January 29, 2020

UPDATED: So Frustrating

We're always blaming people around Trump who are backstabbers and so forth, but it's really frustrating to read sh*t like this:

Trump was warned not to make Sessions the AG, and look what happened--Sessions promised Schumer to recuse. Later Trump said he gave the job to Sessions out of a misguided sense of loyalty. OK, shame on Sessions. Maybe.

Now, however, Trump is telling us that he was warned not to appoint a known idiot like Bolton but went ahead and did it because ... Bolton begged him? Shame on Trump!

UPDATE: The Spectator has a nice article about Bolton that explains why people were telling Trump: Don't do it! Don't appoint Bolton!

Why John Bolton won’t win his war on Trump
Far from damning Trump, his intervention suggests the president was acting in a reasonable manner

The author, Daniel McCarthy, points out that in the NYT leak article, Trump is cited by Bolton as wanting Ukraine to investigate far more than just Biden--for Trump the investigation wasn't about narrow political advantage against a rival. And that's what has Dems all in a lather:

Joe Biden was supposed to be Trump’s target, and the way to weaken Biden was by getting Ukraine to announce an investigation involving Biden’s son. But on Bolton’s account, that isn’t what Trump was doing: the key words in the Times report are ‘Democrats’ — plural — ‘including the Bidens’. Not even Adam Schiff has alleged that Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Pete Buttigieg or Bernie Sanders. If Trump wanted investigations into multiple Democrats, only one of whom had a link to the 2020 election, it can hardly be said that swaying the election was his clear motive.

Bolton’s account, if the Times report is accurate, in fact supports the evidence that President Trump himself released in response to the initial whistleblower complaint — the write-up of his July 25 call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky. When Trump said during that call, ‘I would like you to do us a favor though’ (in response to Zelensky inquiring about the aid) his next words were ‘because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.’ He subsequently makes clear what he means: Trump believes that a wealthy Ukrainian connected with the US cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike may possess a Democratic National Committee computer server that was hacked during the 2016 presidential election. Rudy Giluiani, who is referenced in the call, was Trump’s point man for investigating this — and Giuliani and his shady Ukrainian associates, such as Lev Parnas, were probably responsible for reinforcing the president’s belief in the ‘missing server’, if they weren’t the ones who got him to buy into the story in the first place. 
The plural ‘Democrats’ of the Times report on Bolton’s book are the Democrats of 2016 — the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Joe Biden’s role in the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor during the Obama years also comes up in Trump’s call with Zelensky, with Trump claiming that Biden had boasted of having the man dismissed in order to forestall a prosecution of his son. President Trump’s account of all this is garbled. But there is no reason to think that it’s insincere. If Trump just wanted to embarrass a 2020 rival, he sure went about doing it in the most convoluted possible way. If, on the other hand, Trump really did think that Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election and bore some responsibility for the claims at the heart of the Mueller investigation, then his interest in uncovering multiple ties between Democrats and Ukraine makes good sense. His premises may be flawed, but his conclusion follows from them simply and honestly. And if a foreign government and an American political party were in cahoots, that would merit an investigation, especially before turning over US taxpayer resources to the country in question.


  1. It’s a remarkably nice tweet from Trump.

    One you could take as mostly complimentary to Bolton.

    Until the actual book manuscript comes out, the public does not know what was actually said.

  2. While I don't agree with everything Trump does, if he listened to everyone who said, "you can't do that" or "don't do that", Hillary would be president and we'd be much worse off because of it.

    Being a political outsider trying to operate in a den of political vipers, there probably could have been worse picks than Bolton. Maybe it was a better fit on paper than in practice.

    Now that Bolton has inserted himself ahead of the 2020 election and into the impeachment process, I feel he's lost all credibility and should just go away.

    You win some, you lose some . . .

  3. Completely agree that this is frustrating and that Trump has nobody but himself to blame for caving to Bolton's (and Sheldon Adelson's?) pleading.

    Re McCarthy's article, I agree that "the Democrats" most likely includes the Crowdstrike-DNC hacking angle. I do think that McCarthy's interpretation of Trump's comments regarding the server is mistaken, or at the very least I believe there are more plausible interpretations. For example, Trump could have been referring to a server from which some (or most) of the hacking activity originated. This would align well with the Independent's reporting from a few months ago, which alleged that Barr asked the Brits to help prove that the "Russian hacking" was actually the work of Ukrainian hackers.

    Also, fwiw, I did a bit of investigating in an effort to determine the identity of the "wealthy Ukrainian." I came across a Facebook Post by a former Ukrainian legislator who identified the "wealthy person" as Victor Pinchuk; this didn't come as a surprise to me. After all, Victor not only favored Hillary, but also sat on the Atlantic Council where he was colleagues with . . . Crowdstrike's cofounder, Dmitri Alperovitch.

  4. As I said a few weeks ago, this is Kafkaesque.

    Trump never wanted to investigate the Bidens for political advantage.

    He is and has been outraged by the fact that we have been pouring aid into a corrupt sieve (Ukraine) and he is well justified in understanding our historical role in funding and supporting Ukraine before more money goes down the rat hole. Of course, Schiff and his friends could give a flying fleep about pouring more taxpayer money down the Ukrainian rat hole or any other rat hole that might give them an advantage. What's taxpayer money to them, if they waste some of it, they would just print more of it. Trump, a 'small' businessman who absolutely understands the value of a dollar actually cares what we do with taxpayer money.

    And you can't expect Trump to get any straight answers from the State Department or the Foreign Service or the Intelligence Community about our involvement in Ukrainian corruption. Ask former Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry for a de-briefing about how we engineered a coup in Ukraine in 2014 to overthrow the pro-Russian government of then-President Viktor Yanukovych? Hah! Ask John Brennan or Susan Rice? Hah! Ask Marie Yovanovitch or Alexander Vindman? Hah! Ask Barack Obama? Hah hah!

    And the idea that Trump is (or was) afraid of facing Biden in an election is laughable. Trump, the supreme egoist, is surely confident he would crush Biden on the merits.

    This is insane!

    1. "[W]e have been pouring aid into a corrupt sieve (Ukraine)"

      And as it passes through that sieve, sums fall into the pockets of DC aristocrats who set up shop in Kiev (and who knows where else) to receive portions of the U.S. taxpayer money the DC aristocracy directs that way.

      And that, ladies and gents, is why they're so apoplectic and desperate to destroy Trump. Not only did "#NotMyPOTUS" f**k with their illicit revenue streams, his AG might uncover unprecedented corruption that could land some of them in a federal penitentiary for the rest of their despicable lives.

    2. Burisma board member Devon Archer, who met with Biden in Obama White House, named by SDNY as co-conspirator in multi-million dollar fraud scheme.

    3. He's far from the only one out there with things to hide re Ukraine and other matters. How many of them will voluntarily testify in future impeachment theater?

  5. on the issue of Trump being incompetent, was listening to John Batchelor podcast yesterday. Guest said the US did not send secretary of state to funeral of sultan of Oman. Great Britain sent its PM and Prince Charles. Sultan had been a great friend of US and its interests. Trump seemingly not aware.

    1. yes, Pompeo. But like you wrote, who selected Pompeo? I actually do not blame Trump. It is the republican deep state that is missing in action. What are the republican ideas for the country going forward? Who is sponsoring and mentoring smart people to get into republican politics and policy making?

    2. Federalist society is doing a pretty good job for the Judicial branch, but ...