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Bolton’s Account

John Bolton
John Bolton. Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The New York Times has acquired a leaked draft of John Bolton’s book. If true – and there’s no reason to believe that the story is wrong or that Bolton is lying about key details – it pretty much confirms what journalists, investigators, and analysts have pieced together. But it does shed some light on the whole corrupt mess.

For example, Bolton believes that Giuliani manipulated Trump into firing Ambassador Yovanovitch, and that he did because she “had been targeting his clients who had dealings in Ukraine as she sought to fight corruption.”

Mr. Giuliani had also spent months stoking the president’s paranoia about the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, claiming that she was openly anti-Trump and needed to be dismissed. Mr. Trump had ordered her removed as early as April 2018 during a private dinner with two Giuliani associates and others, a recording of the conversation made public on Saturday showed.

In his August 2019 discussion with Mr. Bolton, the president appeared focused on the theories Mr. Giuliani had shared with him, replying to Mr. Bolton’s question that he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials had turned over all materials they had about the Russia investigation that related to Mr. Biden and supporters of Mrs. Clinton in Ukraine.

Mr. Bolton also described other key moments in the pressure campaign, including Mr. Pompeo’s private acknowledgment to him last spring that Mr. Giuliani’s claims about Ms. Yovanovitch had no basis and that Mr. Giuliani may have wanted her removed because she might have been targeting his clients who had dealings in Ukraine as she sought to fight corruption.

It’s both pathetic and a bit terrifying that the right-wing media echo-chamber has convinced 20-40% of the population that Trump was fighting corruption. Pathetic because it is absolutely untrue; Trump’s actions toward Ukraine served both not only his corrupt ends and those of oligarchs and grifters from the region. Frightening because it underscores just how vulnerable we are to disinformation.

Anyway, you should read the piece – and then reflect on the fact that nothing matters, the Senate will acquit Trump, there’s a good chance he’ll be reelected, and everything is terrible.

NB: think about the fact that Giuliani could’ve been a cabinet official, but he was seen as too compromised for this administration.

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