John Bolton is well named, if you stop to think about it. Since last Sunday when he appeared on the scene with excerpts from his tell-all book, he’s been raining down lightning bolts, one on top of another on Donald Trump and his crooked White House cabal. The intercession of Bolton changed the impeachment narrative from a done deal on the part of Mitch McConnell to the anything goes spot where we find ourselves now, with two Republican senators voting in favor of witnesses and evidence. Today we find out that one of the conversations in “the room where it happened” was between Donald Trump, Mick Mulvaney, Pat Cippolone, Rudy Giuliani and Bolton. New York Times:
Mr. Trump told Mr. Bolton to call Volodymyr Zelensky, who had recently won election as president of Ukraine, to ensure Mr. Zelensky would meet with Mr. Giuliani, who was planning a trip to Ukraine to discuss the investigations that the president sought, in Mr. Bolton’s account. Mr. Bolton never made the call, he wrote.
The previously undisclosed directive that Mr. Bolton describes would be the earliest known instance of Mr. Trump seeking to harness the power of the United States government to advance his pressure campaign against Ukraine, as he later did on the July call with Mr. Zelensky that triggered a whistle-blower complaint and impeachment proceedings. House Democrats have accused him of abusing his authority and are arguing their case before senators in the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump, whose lawyers have said he did nothing wrong.
The account in Mr. Bolton’s manuscript portrays the most senior White House advisers as early witnesses in the effort that they have sought to distance the president from. And disclosure of the meeting underscores the kind of information Democrats were looking for in seeking testimony from his top advisers in their impeachment investigation, including Mr. Bolton and Mr. Mulvaney, only to be blocked by the White House.
In a brief interview, Mr. Giuliani denied that the conversation took place and said those discussions with the president were always kept separate. He was adamant that Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Mulvaney were never involved in meetings related to Ukraine.
“It is absolutely, categorically untrue,” he said.
Maybe Rudy is right. But to be sure, one would want to depose Bolton, correct? And Mulvaney and of course America’s mayor, Mr. Noun Verb 9/11, to get the answers. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea at all to depose Pat Cippolone, who is getting pounded right now for his part in this, with lawyers citing the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege.
Statements made to further conceal A CRIME or perpetuate A FRAUD are not protected.
Which mean Cipollone CAN be asked to testify, on this limited issue.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) January 31, 2020
This is getting out there. This is every bit as wild as the revelation two days ago that Giuliani sent Lindsey Graham a letter asking him to sanction a list of people that Giuliani had prepared, as part of his shadow government exercise in Ukraine.
Ukraine is the mother lode. And Bolton was spot on. “Giuliani’s a grenade that’s going to blow us all up.”