Talk about a revelation, if true, and one can consider it highly possible as it is reported by Bloomberg. Via our friends at DailyKos.
Congressional appropriators were frustrated when their inquiry on Aug. 29 about the status of the State Department funds was greeted by silence. Days passed and on Sept. 9, when they asked again, the State Department’s Legislative Affairs office told them there was no hold on the $141 million, according to a person familiar with the matter.
What they didn’t know, according to one of the people, was that shortly before Sept. 9, Bolton had relayed a message to the State Department that the funding could go ahead. It’s not clear whether Bolton, who resigned from the job a week later, did so with Trump’s approval.
One serious indication that Bolton may have given the green light on his own, ignoring both protocol and quite possibly the law, is that the move appeared to surprise Mulvaney.
Bolton’s handling of the funding struck officials in the White House as violating protocol and caught Mulvaney by surprise, according to another person familiar with the matter.
A lot of “ifs” and “sources” in that statement, and yet it was just yesterday that Bolton’s lawyer wrote a letter stating that Bolton had relevant things to discuss concerning the inquiry. That letter is oddly timed given that people knew Bolton had relevant information, Congress subpoenaed him.
Bolton certainly has to be careful here. Yes, he could absolutely blow-up the “and the money was paid!” defense if no one else had any role in breaking the hold. But he might unleash a whole host of problems on himself as it would be Barr sitting over at the Justice Department that could charge Bolton for going around any “protocol.” I suppose the issue in that circumstance would be whether “protocol” is synonymous with “law.”
From an entirely neutral position someone could point out that Bolton followed the law as to Congressional appropriations, but that is still … If it takes a formal order or presidential signature well, that’s going to be a rough road. Yet it certainly doesn’t do Trump any good to scream “criminal!” when Trump is the one who for some time has been asserting that “the money got paid!”
As I said, that’s a bit of a wow. If true.
We would also need to settle out “which money” because the article references $141 million when the entire appropriation, the amount purportedly withheld amounted to $400 million. I suppose one might speculate that the portion Bolton green-lighted then led to the rest being released? None of us can know. Yet.
We have seen several defenses fall by the wayside as the process has gone along, and just as many questions arising as answers. It sounds like we’ll find out soon enough, somehow, and it will likely go through Bolton.
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