Former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton announced yesterday that he would appear before a Senate impeachment trial if asked. Trump must have been angered by this news even though it’s not certain a Senate trial will ever occur, but the real question for Bolton is, “Why now?”
There are two things to know about John Bolton. He doesn’t like Donald Trump and left the Trump administration on bad terms. And he hates the country of Iran–so much so that he’s advocated bombing it for years. Which brings us to an interesting theory that several political observers, including Lawrence O’Donnell, were speculating about last night.
Suppose John Bolton was very happy that the Trump administration assassinated Iranian General Suleimani and expects this reckless action to lead to war, but doesn’t want someone as incompetent and impulsive as Donald Trump in charge of our conflict with Iran. Did Bolton decide to appear before the Senate’s impeachment trial in hopes that his explosive testimony could force Republicans into removing Trump from office and inserting Mike Pence, whose animus toward Iran is great, and who might be a more level headed and effective Commander In Chief for battling Iran? Bolton would only need to confirm to the Senate and to America that Trump withheld aid from Ukraine for purely personal partisan reasons (what Bolton already referred to as a “drug deal”) and that Trump knowingly broke the law while putting our national security at risk.
It’s easy for me to imagine Bolton meeting in a dark back room with Moscow Mitch and Lindsey Graham and Mike Pompeo to give them this pitch: “Trump is destroying the Republican Brand, we all know he’s an unhinged lunatic wholly unfit to be president, and God knows what other new messes he’s going to create, so the time is right to get rid of him, somehow blame it on the Democrats, and go into the November election with a shiny new candidate, Pence, who is relatively untarnished by all of the Trump scandals and shenanigans. And Pence will do a great job with Iran in the interim. Who’s with me?”
It’s far fetched but Bolton is devious and far smarter than Donald Trump, so we have to wonder why Bolton suddenly decided he was open to testifying. What calculation is he making? What strategy does this tactic fit into? What changed? It’s a very intriguing situation, and it must have Trump in fits.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”