Media is all atwitter today with the Bolton news, despite people not even having seen the actual book or knowing precisely what it says.
It should be a recognized standard at this point that such reports from the New York Times should be taken with a grain of salt. 48 hour rule, it always tends to fall apart as you see more facts emerge.
But despite that, media is still falling all over it immediately as a smoking gun.
There are already emerging two basic problems with the claim.
The first is, what difference does it make? It’s irrelevant whether the president said anything or not because there was no such quid pro quo communicated to the Ukrainians as the transcript and the Ukrainians have said. President Zelensky has said categorically it didn’t happen. Indeed Democrats have implied in this whole effort to get Trump that somehow Zelensky is lying. But his statement has been consistent from the beginning. Far more consistent than House Intel Chair Adam Schiff.
The second is that once again it’s not clear what was actually really said, if anything. The New York Times does not actually include any alleged quotes from the book. So how do we know what was actually said, all we have is the “interpretation.” If Bolton was talking about “investigations” was he actually talking about? Investigating things that happened in 2016 is looking into corruption, even seeing if the Biden case was properly dismissed is looking into corruption.
Now there’s another problem with the story.
The story alleges that Office of Management and Budget head and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was told about this claim. But now Mulvaney is disputing the claim, saying it didn’t happen.
Mulvaney released a statement through his attorney, ripping the claim apart.
Statement from lawyer for Mick Mulvaney: pic.twitter.com/PeuMwweSpH
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 27, 2020
Statement from Bob Driscoll, attorney for Acting White House Chief of Staff, January 27, 2020 – “The latest story from the New York Times, coordinated with a book launch, has more to do with publicity than the truth. John Bolton never informed Mick Mulvaney of any concerns surrounding Bolton’s purported August conversation with the President. Nor did Mr. Mulvaney ever have a conversation with the president or anyone else indicating that Ukrainian military aid was withheld in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation of Burisma, the Bidens, or the 2016 election. Furthermore, Mr. Mulvaney has no recollection of any conversation with Mr. Giuliani resembling that reportedly described in Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, as it was Mr. Mulvaney’s practice to excuse himself from conservations between the President and his personal counsel to preserve any attorney-client privilege.”
Whoops. Sure sounds like he thinks this is being spread to help with Bolton’s book rather than having anything to do with the truth. Perhaps we do well to also point out that while Bolton’s people didn’t dispute the account, they also didn’t confirm it.
So again, 48 hour rule because people keep falling of this stuff and that’s why people keep doing it for political advantage.