The leftists in the media, the Democrats, the House managers trying to oust this president from the White House — all these players are in hyper mode over reported claims made by former National Security Adviser John Bolton in his upcoming book, in which he supposedly ties Donald Trump’s release of aid to Ukraine to political information on Joe and Hunter Biden.
But the bigger question is this: Who leaked to the media?
Apparently, Trump still has plenty of snakes working from within his administration, from within his intelligence agencies. The Deep State is alive and kicking.
Or, maybe, it’s all about the book sales. Amazon, coincidentally, just kicked off a pre-order page.
Anyhow: “The drama began earlier Sunday when [The New York] Times exclusively reported that Bolton’s manuscript included a claim that Trump explicitly linked a hold on Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump told Bolton in August, according to a transcript of Bolton’s forthcoming book reviewed by the Times, ‘that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens,’ ” Fox News reported.
OK. Great. But how’d the book get in the hands of The New York Times?
That’s an interesting question — because while the newspaper said Bolton himself gave a copy to some “close associates,” Bolton’s spokespeople deny that and fault the National Security Council’s Records Management Division for wrongfully leaking it to the press. The reason the NSC’s reviewers had it in the first place — and they had it on December 30 — was to make sure Bolton didn’t violate any national security standards and write about issues that could impact the safety of America. Standard procedure stuff; NSC reviewers were supposed to simply check for sensitive material.
But The New York Times isn’t part and parcel of that national security review process.
Obviously, apparently, there’s a leaker on the NSC team.
“It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article,” said Charles Cooper, attorney for Bolton, in a statement to The Associated Press, “that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those involved in reviewing the manuscript.”
And all the Trump haters go, so what? If Bolton’s claims prove true, well then, leaker or no leaker, that’s proof positive of a quid pro quo, then, right?
Presuming what The New York Times report about Bolton’s claim in his yet-to-be-released book is true — this once again is hardly the left’s golden key to impeachment.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Trump tweeted. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the …”
And Trump followed with this tweet: “… transcripts of my calls with President Zelensky are all the proof that is needed, in addition to the fact that President Zelensky & the Foreign Minister of Ukraine said there was no pressure and no problems. Additionally, I met with President Zelensky at the United Nations …”
And Trump again followed with this tweet: “… (Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations — and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-Tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.”
How come Trump is never to be believed, but everyone who has information that can take Trump down is automatically to be believed? That isn’t just unfair. It outright defiant of the law of averages.
Look, it’s easy to be drawn into the smoke and mirrors and fog and convolutions and claims of all the high drama that’s been taking place in recent months on impeachment against this president, and lose sight of the fact: The evidence to impeach and remove is presumption and assumption and guesses into motivations.
That’s all the Democrats have.
Even with this latest twist on Bolton, what it comes down, worst-case, to is a he-said, he-said — Bolton said, Trump said.
And given Trump ultimately gave the aid, and given there was a released telephone transcript in which Trump explicitly stated he wanted “no quid pro quo,” it’s really hard to make the case Trump committed an impeachable offense, never mind an impeachable offense that warrants his conviction by the Senate and removal from office — an offense defined by the Constitution as “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The Democrats simply haven’t proven their case.
And Bolton just isn’t going to get them across that finish line. This is yet the next supposed bombshell — a short media cycle or two away from dive bombing into nothing.
What’s most significant is the leak, and discovering the snaky snakes still working from the inside to tear apart this administration.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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