As if Donald Trump didn’t have enough problems, the White House may soon have to decide how to deal with a scorned John Bolton.
According to a person close to the former national security adviser, Bolton’s lawyers have been in touch with officials working on the three House committees conducting the impeachment probe.
Bolton has emerged as an ancillary figure in what, by almost all accounts, was a clandestine effort to leverage US military aid and other assistance to force the fledging Volodymyr Zelensky government in Ukraine to commit publicly to investigations of Trump’s political rivals.
According to multiple officials who spoke to the Washington Post, Bolton in August warned Bob Lighthizer that Trump was unlikely to go along with a recommendation that the White House restore some of Ukraine’s GSP trade privileges which were suspended late last year in connection with a long-running dispute over intellectual property theft.
Read more: Military Aid Wasn’t The Only US Assistance To Ukraine Held Up By The White House…
More importantly, testimony from Bolton aide Fiona Hill suggests John was aghast at the pressure campaign being conducted by EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, former special envoy Kurt Volker and Energy secretary Rick Perry.
Hill described Bolton’s efforts to ring the alarm, only to discover that the foxes were guarding the proverbial hen house.
“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up”, Bolton reportedly instructed Hill to tell the head attorney for the National Security Council, as it became clear that Sondland, along with Rudy Giuliani, were knee-deep in a scheme to extort a foreign government.
“Bolton expressed grave concerns to Hill about the campaign being run by Giuliani”, The New York Times wrote, describing HIll’s testimony.
According to Hill, Bolton once characterized Giuliani as “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up”. (And you can trust John on that, because he’s a man who knows about blowing stuff up.)
Read more: John Bolton Called Giuliani A ‘Hand Grenade’, Described Trump’s Ukraine Scheme As ‘Drug Deal’, Fiona Hill Told Congress
Bolton either resigned or was fired in September (depending on whose account you want to believe).
Ostensibly, the last straw was an Oval Office discussion around the possibility of lifting some sanctions on Iran, but given the timing (September 10, within hours of Ambassador Bill Taylor lambasting what he called a “crazy” quid pro quo) one can’t help but wonder if Bolton was also keen on grabbing one of the few remaining life boats before the Titanic finally hit the iceberg.
To be clear, it’s not known whether Bolton would deliver a damning account even if he were to go before lawmakers. One thing seems certain, though: The White House would surely prefer it if John simply refrained from saying anything at all, unless he intends to deliver effusive praise of the administration.