Like Ebenezer Scrooge, Donald Trump was visited by some spirits last week, starting with the ghost of national security advisors’ past, John Bolton.
Bolton (and his mustache) resurfaced on Friday, amid rampant speculation around possible testimony in the impeachment inquiry. Multiple witnesses have recounted Bolton’s misgivings about Rudy Giuliani, who, according to Fiona Hill, Bolton once branded “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up”.
Speaking out publicly from his verified Twitter account, Bolton unleashed a barrage of comically cryptic tweets. “Glad to be back on Twitter after more than two months. For the backstory, stay tuned……..”, he began, before inexplicably retweeting himself.
John then celebrated the “liberation” of his social media access, which he said was “previously suppressed unfairly in the aftermath of my resignation as National Security Advisor”.
That alone should be enough to make Trump (and the country) nervous. After all, whenever John talks about “liberating” something, the plan usually involves deposing a dictator by force, followed by years of bloody anarchy.
He went on to claim that it was only thanks to Jack Dorsey that his Twitter account was “returned” to its rightful owner.
As disconcerting as an unshackled Bolton is for the White House, infinitely more worrisome is the prospect of Rudy gone rogue.
To be clear, Rudy went rogue a long time ago vis-à-vis America. One thing that virtually nobody disputes in the impeachment inquiry is whether Giuliani was, in fact, involved in a clandestine campaign to smear US officials and politicians via dirt gathered by his now-jailed Ukraine fixers Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Every witness (including and especially Gordon Sondland) described Giuliani’s role as troublesome at best, and wholly unnerving at worst.
Perhaps secretly smitten with the underworld figures he once zealously prosecuted, “America’s mayor” seemingly saw, in the Trump presidency, an opportunity to live out Robert Duvall’s Tom Hagen.
Unfortunately for Trump, Rudy is well past his prime and comes across as more bumbling conspiracy theorist than subtly menacing consigliere. Last month, for example, he butt-dialed a reporter who overheard Rudy telling another man that “I gotta get you to get on Bahrain” and “We need a few hundred thousand”.
This week, Giuliani seemed to suggest that should the White House decide to “throw him under the bus”, he’ll pull a Snidely Whiplash and plant dynamite on the tracks ahead of the Trump train.
“When they say [Trump will throw me under the bus] I say ‘He isn’t, but I have insurance'”, Giuliani told Fox.
On Saturday, Rudy sought to “clarify” that on Twitter, where he claimed he was actually talking about Joe Biden – or something.
“The statement I’ve made several times of having an insurance policy, if thrown under bus, is sarcastic & relates to the files in my safe about the Biden Family’s 4 decade monetizing of his office”, he tweeted, adding that “If I disappear, it will appear immediately along with my RICO chart”.
To call that laughable would be an understatement. It wasn’t clear who Rudy thinks might try to “disappear” him, but the implication seems to be that whatever secret “files” he has stashed in his personal “safe”, along with a homemade RICO diagram (think Pepe Silvia), will suddenly materialize on everyone’s computer screens if he ends up at bottom of a lake.
Or who knows, maybe Rudy plans to “disappear” himself. After all, he’s reportedly under investigation for failing to register as a foreign agent, so it wouldn’t be at all far-fetched to suggest he’s currently trying to figure a way to get out the country.
In another weekend tweet, Giuliani declared “The Mafia couldn’t kill me so NO, I am not worried about the swamp press!”
If Bolton is the ghost of security advisors’ past, Rudy is the spirit of loose ends present.
Michael Cohen was Jacob Marley (chains and all).
One shudders to think what form The Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come will take when it appears to Trump.