Monday, January 27, 2020

UPDATED: The Bolton Leak

Obviously the substance of the leaked portions of Bolton's book, as reported by the NYT, amounts to much ado about nothing. As always. Like all the "bombshells" about this president.

The simple facts, that too many lose sight of in all the yammering about a "quid pro quo", are these:

1. The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that foreign policy is the exclusive responsibility of the president. There are two explicit exceptions enumerated in the Constitution: Declarations of War and Confirmation of Treaties. That's it. We recently covered these constitutional principles (by republishing Professor Turner's outstanding law review article, with comments) in our give part Unconstitutional FISA series. FISA and foreign intelligence gathering generally, of course, is just one more aspect of foreign policy.

2. Foreign policy is always conducted according to the mutual interests of the parties (nations) involved. As such, there is always a quid pro quo than can be enunciated.

3. Legitimate law enforcement concerns of the United States do not stop at our borders--that's the reason we have extradition treaties, embassies and consulates, and FBI Legat offices overseas.

4. Running for office does not exempt a US person from the laws of the United States, nor from the operation of the president's powers and responsibilities in the field of foreign relations. Only the tin foil hat crowd of the Left--for who their ends justify any means no matter how damaging to our constitutional order--imagine otherwise.

Not long ago--January 19, 2020, to be precise--we commented on the Top NSC Staffer Escorted From WH. That NSC staffer was reporter Liz Peek's son, Andrew Peek, who had only recently been appointed as head of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). At the time we cited at length CTH's revelations about Peek's close ties to Deep State (Never Trump) figures. The assumption, of course, was that Peek had been removed from his position for leaking--and we all awaited revelations about what his leaks were.

Today CTH expresses the suspicion that most of us harbored as soon as the Bolton leak came out "officially"--that Peek was behind the leak of Bolton's book to the NYT: Another Carefully Timed National Security Council Leak? – John Bolton Book Manuscript Leaked to New York Times.

Bolton had, as was required, submitted his book to the NSC for pre-publication review regarding any possibly classified material. I will add one fairly obvious factor which offers strong circumstantial support for CTH's view that Peek leaked Bolton's book: Peek, as head of European and Russia affairs at the NSC, would have had responsibility over the review of Bolton's book.

The bottom line is that, while this may lend support to those who wish Bolton to testify at the Senate's Impeachment Theater, it adds nothing at all to the legal and constitutional issues. It does, however, also lend strong support to those who also wish to bring the Bidens and other witnesses to the Ukraine Hoax before the Senate. To include Vindman, Ciaramella, and all the rest. Maybe even such Ukraine involved figures as Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr. I'd be very much surprised if Trump's team is not fully prepared for this, so the leak--and Schiff's predictable call for Bolton to testify--may turn out to be another object lesson in being careful what one wishes for.

UPDATE 1: (H/T one of my brothers) Ann Althouse--former professor of Constitutional Law--has a (mostly) pretty shrewd blog on all this today: Why can't John Bolton's publisher just release the book ahead of schedule so we're not subjected to second-hand reports of what's in it?  Excerpt:

According to the NYT article, Trump has had the book since December 30. The book is no surprise to Trump. 
Notice how cagily the first paragraph of the NYT article is written: 
     President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
Did Trump even mention Joe Biden in that conversation? 
AND: Why doesn't John Bolton just do an interview? I don't accept the answer: He's following his predetermined plan for marketing his book. He says he'd testify at the trial, but why keep it a secret and let Senators decide whether his input is included or not? 
ALSO: Trump has some new tweets (1, 2, 3): 
     I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems. Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations (Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations - and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.
And he retweets this from Sean Davis (1, 2):
     Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off of a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results. I suspect it will work out as well as all of Bolton’s other wars.
     John Bolton is running the exact same revenge playbook against Trump that James Comey used. He’s even using the same agent and leaking to the same reporters. All because he’s mad Trump fired him for leaking and trying to start new wars. It’s so boring and predictable.
Trump also retweets this from Mollie Hemingway: 
     This is obviously book promo coordinated with compliant media, yes. But an additional word of skepticism: these *particular* folks have a pattern of overpromising and underachieving with their "bombshell" anti-Trump book roll outs.

To which I'll simply add this question: Does it bother you, knowing that a person--I won't say "man"--like Bolton was so close to the levers of power for so long?

UPDATE 2: Via Breitbart:

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) revealed Saturday he has drafted motions to subpoena former Vice President Joe Biden, his youngest son Hunter Biden, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), and the so-called “whistleblower.” 
Hawley will attempt to force a vote on the subpoenas if the Senate approves additional witnesses and documents as part of the upper chamber’s trial.
Politico reported: 
     Hawley would also seek communications among the whistleblower, Schiff and his staff, transcripts of Atkinson’s congressional testimony, communications between the House impeachment managers and Democratic presidential candidates as well as documents related to Biden’s drive to oust former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
The Missouri Republican’s pledge mirrors one made by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who earlier this month threatened to force a vote on subpoenaing Hunter Biden and the so-called “whistleblower” if Republicans grant the Democrats’ demand for more witnesses. 
Paul explained, per Politico: 
     If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is. If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period.

Rand Paul makes a compelling argument.


  1. In the comments over at Conservative Treehouse, it was mentioned the book may have been a honey pot to smoke out leakers... So false information may have been included in the book as a way to detect leakers.

    The explanation of how Andrew Peek mentor may have been comprised ethically by the Obama administration, General Alan, was disturbing.

    The continued collusion between the deep state and the media against the Trump administration is scandalous.

    What a hall of mirrors!

    1. Re your first point, I wouldn't rule that out. But, if so, I'm going to speculate that there may have been larger targets than just Peek. Not discounting Peek's importance, but suggesting that he was working for others. As I've suggested previously.

  2. hahahaha... they make a big deal about Bolton, which leads to clamoring for his testimony, which leads to all the other witnesses testifying, which destroys them.

    Instant karma.

    "Does it bother you, knowing that a person--I won't say "man"--like Bolton was so close to the levers of power for so long? "

    Does make me wonder what Trump had in mind when he chose him. I can't imagine Trump didn't know Bolton's history, so he must have had a purpose.

    1. Or Pandora's Box.

      "what Trump had in mind"

      I know I wondered at the time, too. This could turn out to diabolically clever. I'm not usually into the 3 dimensional chess spec, but ...

  3. "Not long ago--January 19, 2002, to be precise"

    Minor nit; I think that should be 2020. ;)


  4. The longer this man is president, the more impressed I am with him. I am so sick of the Left. I want to drive a stake through their corrupt heart (metaphorically speaking).

  5. What would it do to your sense of dignity/honor if you grew up observing that Democrat Media almost always hides & protects Democrat corruption but, like clockwork, invents anti-Republican mystery stories?

    The sad thing is hearing so little contempt for Democrat Media from Republicans. Thank God for Trump. He's the boy pointing out the emperor has no clothes. And he could use some help with that. It would make our society healthier.

    1. He made that point at Davos--that this might be the most important of his accomplishments.

  6. Trouble is, Gaetz predicts that Senators won't dare press their ex-colleague Biden to testify. That would be so ungentlemanly!

    1. Re Gaetz, part of his recent attitude may be sour grapes at being excluded from the Trump Team. He's right, that some senators will not want to call witnesses, but if P. Delecto and a few others join Dems in demanding witnesses--who by the rules will be deposed, DO NOT FORGET THAT--the remaining GOP senators will be hard pressed to deny Trump all the witnesses he demands.

    2. I agree on Gaetz and the rest of your thinking. Those senators who might want to protect Biden would surely be overwhelmed by those wanting to hear what he had to say. Joe keeps saying that Hunter did nothing wrong, but his own abuse of his office - the #2 in the land - was stunning. Far more grave than anything we have heard Hunter might have done. Hunter was just a useful pawn, one Joe could control. And trust.

    3. Ol' Joe was a major player in one of the largest grifts in history, the U.S. Senate, over generations. He knows where a lot of very important bodies are buried. Will he sit still for having his family thrown under the bus?
      Tom S.

  7. It seems everything is related. I feel like my head is spinning. I don't like the Gateway Pundit, way to click bait for me, but there are nuggets of good information.

    1. Joe Pientka's wife worked for the lawfirm Covington, which has HUGE associations with the deep state.
    Dark and Dirty FBI Agent Joe Pientka Is Under Protective Order – Is He Talking Or Being Protected from Talking? - The Gateway Pundit

    2. Seth Rich Investigation - Strozk and Page were involved!

    BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Wray’s FBI Caught in Another LIE and Cover Up – FBI EMAILS ON SETH RICH UNCOVERED - The Gateway Pundit

    link text

    1. Yes, stuff seems to be slowly percolating to the surface.

    2. I just did a new post re Pientka--Joe Friday.

  8. very risky. Bolton says Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden and that just proves the false narrative the he held up the aid for that reason. A cable news commentary feeding frenzy ensues, which scares a bunch of republicans to vote to convict. Meanwhile, sound arguments, like Giuliani had him convinced there was provable Biden corruption. Or he wanted to hold up aid to get Europe to pay more. Or just wanted to see how the deep state would react. - all that will not be heard.

    Something is keeping Trump from testifying in his own defense. They let the Mueller thing go on passed the election, which cost republicans the house. The Roger Stone refusal to testify still makes no sense. And even Flynn letting himself be tormented.

    If Trump had testified at impeachment and said he always planned to approve the Ukraine aid. Just wanted the public to hear about corruption of Biden clan. And wanted Europe to pay more. That people had been telling him of deep state corruption and he wanted to make public aware. How does House impeach?

  9. This seems fine.

  10. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, a news report based on an anonymous source's claims about what Bolton wrote in a draft manuscript is NOT admissible evidence in anything resembling a judicial process, AFAIK.

    It is "anonymous hearsay." And the reporter is NOT a witness to anything resembling admissible evidence, anymore than Christopher Steele was a source of allegations against Trump. Both are "chroniclers" of hearsay allegations from sources unknown, not direct witnesses of anything admissible.

    Same scam, different day.

    1. Sometimes belaboring the obvious is a civic duty. :-)

    2. Bolton still has to testify. Esp at this point. Trump says different things to different people. Part of the big game of keeping everyone guessing. Or whatever. But Bolton thinks what he heard is all important since that is how Washington people judge each other.

    3. Bets on how many weeks before his book is on the discount table next to Hill&Chels's. Recommend no picks above single digits.

  11. There is no downside no matter the reason.

    No matter how you slice it, Trump did no wrong. There is overwhelming evidence for this.

    So, this, all of the impeachment, is just to damage Trump in any way politically.

    Think Beto in Texas. He never had a chance, but waisted resources by RNC etc.

    Remember, Trump was a celebrated Democrat. He KNOWS them.

  12. Seems the dream scenario for Democrats is a vote of something like 51-49 against witnesses, and I really hope Republicans don't give it to them.

    I've said all along I don't know what Trump/Barr/Durham might have up their sleeves. Maybe it's solid gold and can undo any damage done by a no-witnesses impeachment trial - who knows? But the Democrats' "Trump's dirty and we Democrats are clean" narrative has to be put to bed sooner rather than later, and a close vote to let Biden, Ciaramella, Schiff, etc. off the hook does just the opposite, at least for now.

    I'm often wrong. I hope I'm wrong again. But that's my take on things.

  13. Oh, in regards to Bolton's book ....

    Not 3d chess, but Bolton being an ass and the twin efff face Vindman helping.

    Spoils system? It's bad ... why? Really?

  14. Andy McCarthy -- on Laura Ingraham's show -- had a very interesting take on the Bolton imbroglio: he pointed out that even if you assume everything attributed to Bolton were true, it makes no difference because it isn't an impeachable act -- hoping to condition release of foreign aid on investigating potential corrupt acts, but ultimately releasing the aid without any investigations being opened up or promised publicly -- which is what the Dems allege, isn't a crime and isn't Impeachable; therefore Bolton's testimony is irrelevant to Impeachment.

    1. That's what Dershowitz has been saying about all this stuff all along. And he said it about Bolton yesterday.

      Read the Constitution, read the Unconstitutional FISA stuff, reread what I wrote above. McCarthy has, in the past, waffled on these issues.

    2. why is Andy not on Trump defense team? Why prevent Bolton from testifying to the House, before impeachment? The 3d chess talk ignores that the stonewalling of Mueller allowed dems to stretch that investigation until after congressional elections, which they won decisively.

    3. I'd hesitate to trust Andy, w/o settling exactly what he'd push, esp. given his association with NR, given its trashing of Nick S., and later lame apology.