Did President Trump tell former National Security Advisor John Bolton that the release of aid money to Ukraine was contingent on then-newly elected president Zelensky opening an investigation into political rivals? If one only reads the headlines, then that is certainly the impression given. The reality, however, might be somewhat different.
The New York Times reported that Bolton had circulated his as-yet-unpublished manuscript to close associates, presumably for personal feedback. These trusted associates then appear to have headed straight over to The Times to share the revelations. Yet what is described does not quite fit the promise encapsulated in the needy headlines that have taken over the news cycle.
The excerpts described allegedly state that “he (President Trump) wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens,” which on the surface may look quite damning. But is it?
Ukraine has a long history of corruption, especially when it comes to government and big business money, specifically when it comes to Burisma Holdings. Could any president be sure that American tax dollars would be used for the allotted purpose? You see, even The Times states that investigations were being requested into multiple people and/or events.
If President Trump had only asked for an investigation into the Bidens, there might well have been some “there there.” However, based on what The Times relates (and it is unclear whether authors at the publication have even seen this manuscript), this is not the case. In fact, there is an argument to be made that it would have been negligent to not ask for investigations into possible corruption. Such a request would, at the very least, inform the Ukrainian government that the United States is watching carefully.
The Biden Connection
While the media has been prefacing every mention of the Biden Ukraine scandal with the words “thoroughly debunked,” this does not necessarily make it so. Does the same media machine also discuss the Russiagate hoax as “debunked”? One of these scandals has been the subject of one of the largest investigations in U.S. history; the other relates to Joe and Hunter Biden.
The fact is a lot of people want an investigation into the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine. Not just regular folk across all 50 states, but elected representatives, too. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), has stated publicly that regardless of the outcome of the impeachment trial, he will begin pushing for a full investigation into what sordid deals and arrangements may have occurred to secure hunter Biden a sinecure worth over $3 million.John Bolton (Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)
There is also another aspect to this release of potentially damaging information: timing. The Times has neither republished exact wording from the manuscript nor outright claimed to have seen it. With the vote for witnesses fast approaching in the Senate, this is, without doubt, going to create a lot of headlines favorable to the Democrat position. Yet no matter how much enmity Mr. Bolton may be feeling towards the president, it seems unlikely that he would be willing to hand a clean victory to a party he fundamentally finds distasteful.
John Bolton is a keen political operator who knows well how to best position himself. It seems no coincidence that the very day The New York Times happens upon a trove of “close associates” willing to gossip on an unreleased manuscript, just happens to be the day on which Mr. Bolton’s book goes live for pre-order on Amazon.
Have Democrats been hooked on a line with a tasty morsel that benefits only the fisherman?
Read more from Mark Angelides.