Commentary

Bolton May Be Critical of Trump-Ukraine Stance Now, But 5 Months Ago He Described It Very Differently

This could bring a whole new light to the John Bolton book.

Ever since The New York Times’ conveniently timed scoop on the alleged contents of a White House tell-all by the former national security advisor, Bolton has been portrayed by the mainstream media as a man who condemned President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

But new video making the rounds on social media shows Bolton himself talking about Trump’s now-famous phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in a way that wouldn’t alarm any American — or Ukrainian for that matter.

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The Bolton interview with Olena Removska of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty took place Aug. 27, according to the RFE/RL YouTube video.

That was a full month after the July 25 phone call Democrats are claiming constituted a veiled attempt by Trump to extort Zelensky’s cooperation in launching a corruption investigation that could damage former Vice President Joe Biden.

(It was an extortion attempt so veiled that Rep. Adam Schiff had to make up words that were not in the transcript to make it match the Democrats’ hysterical claims.)

And yet here was Bolton, a man now emerging as a threat to the Trump presidency in the middle of the Senate impeachment trial, portraying the call as “warm and cordial.”

Check out the entire interview here:

Zelensky “and President Trump have already spoken twice,” Bolton said. “President Trump called to congratulate President Zelensky on his election and then on his success in the parliamentary election. They were very warm and cordial calls. We’re hoping that they’ll be able to meet in Warsaw and have a few minutes together.”

That meeting, which had been set for Sept. 1 as part of commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, did not take place because Trump stayed in the U.S. to deal with Hurricane Dorian, which was threatening to be a major natural disaster in the U.S. after savaging the Bahamas.

Does Bolton sound like a man furious about a “drug deal” being cooked up in the White House involving military aid to Ukraine? Does this jibe with the testimony of former Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor, who told House investigators in early November, according to Fox News, that Bolton had predicted the Trump-Zelensky phone call would be a disaster?

It’s also worth noting that later in the interview, about the 12-minute mark, Bolton makes a point of saying the Trump administration had been “very tough” on Russia, imposing “enormous” sanctions on the country and its officials and “taken steps that really have had a dramatic impact on the Russian economy.”

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That doesn’t sound like a man describing Trump as a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin (as liberals are so fond of claiming), and in many ways, the video plays right into the hands of the Trump impeachment defense.

Now, obviously a United States national security advisor isn’t going to lay all his cards on the table in any interview. But Bolton’s apparent nonchalance when it comes to the Trump-Zelensky relationship is a different picture from the one The New York Times described in its report on Bolton’s manuscript.

The Times story published Sunday night claimed that Bolton’s book would describe Trump admitting to Bolton that he had frozen military aid to Ukraine to force an investigation that could hurt Biden — in effect establishing the quid pro quo Democrats have been clamoring about.

On Wednesday afternoon, the clip from Bolton’s interview was getting plenty of attention on social media.

The video itself doesn’t prove anything other than that on Aug. 27, then-National Security Advisor John Bolton wasn’t publicly critical of the Trump administration’s policies toward Ukraine.

Do you think the Bolton book will hurt Trump in the impeachment trial?

But it’s also worth pointing out that the extensive coverage that surrounded Bolton’s departure from the White House mentioned his differences with Trump about many countries – Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, North Korea – but essentially ignored the one country that’s in the headlines now: Ukraine.

Bolton could well have been upset about the Ukraine situation and merely masked it from the RFE/RL interviewer. Dissembling is part of a diplomat’s job after all.

Still, considering the timing of the leak Sunday night – just as Trump’s team was entering the second day of what appeared to be a slam dunk defense of the president during his impeachment trial, this Bolton video could put things in a whole different light.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
Birthplace
Philadelphia
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