John Bolton preoccupied the media today, but it's clear there's no 'there there'

The big news on Sunday was a leak claiming that John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, has a book coming out that says Trump told Bolton that he wanted to force Ukraine to investigate Biden before releasing security assistance money.  Democrats went wild with delight; Republicans opted to ask questions rather than to come up with instant, wrong answers.  They were wise to do so.

Many people noticed that, despite the Democrats' immediate insistence that it's absolutely pivotal to their impeachment case that they question Bolton before the Senate, that wasn't what they were saying last year.  Last year, they invited Bolton to testify, but he declined...only to add that he would appear if they subpoenaed him.  That was a bridge too far.  Fearing a fight in court with Trump (which is the usual way disputes between the Executive and Congress are resolved when it comes to subpoenas), the House went full Emily Litella and said, "Never mind."  Apparently, Bolton wasn't that important after all.

The announcement's timing also made people question its legitimacy.  Coming as it did in the middle of the impeachment hearing, it reminded many people of the way in which Christine Blasey Ford's allegations suddenly popped up during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.  It let Democrats turn his hearing into a circus, so why not do the same to President Trump's impeachment?

For Bolton and his publishers, too, the timing was perfect, because it offered the type of advertising money can't buy:

Even the New York Times' own Maggie Haberman noticed the coincidence:

Scott Adams had an entirely different take, which is that Bolton's statement is actually a huge win for Trump:

Adams's take makes a lot of sense because the NSC had to pre-clear the book for publication.  (In one of life's amazing little coincidences, Lt. Col. Alex Vindman's twin brother was the person in charge of reviewing all NSC publications — something that may explain the leak.)

Putting aside the timing, though, the real problem with Bolton's purported revelations is that they don't matter.  It's totally irrelevant whether Trump toyed with the idea of tying releasing the money to investigating corruption — although it's worth noting that this corruption was once obvious even to the media.  Speaking before the Senate today, Pam Bondi showed with devastating clarity that the real issue isn't Trump's casual request that Ukraine investigate Biden's corruption, but, instead, Biden's corruption itself:

Democrats ignore that what's important here is what Trump actually did, as opposed to what he toyed with doing.  And what he did was have a telephone call with Zelensky in which he told Zelensky that, when it came to aid, Europe was falling down on the job, even though it would be more affected by Russian aggression than America would be.  Long after mentioning the aid, almost as an afterthought, Trump asked if Ukraine could check into the question of Biden's son, because it was becoming an issue in America.

No quid.  No pro.  No quo.  After releasing the funds, almost two weeks before the deadline Congress had set, Trump had a nice meeting with Zelensky.  And that's it.  That's the whole story.  Bolton's reports about Trump's prior fulminations are completely superseded by Trump's actions.

The best thing to come out of this whole affair is a poster (hat tip: Ace of Spades):

The big news on Sunday was a leak claiming that John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, has a book coming out that says Trump told Bolton that he wanted to force Ukraine to investigate Biden before releasing security assistance money.  Democrats went wild with delight; Republicans opted to ask questions rather than to come up with instant, wrong answers.  They were wise to do so.

Many people noticed that, despite the Democrats' immediate insistence that it's absolutely pivotal to their impeachment case that they question Bolton before the Senate, that wasn't what they were saying last year.  Last year, they invited Bolton to testify, but he declined...only to add that he would appear if they subpoenaed him.  That was a bridge too far.  Fearing a fight in court with Trump (which is the usual way disputes between the Executive and Congress are resolved when it comes to subpoenas), the House went full Emily Litella and said, "Never mind."  Apparently, Bolton wasn't that important after all.

The announcement's timing also made people question its legitimacy.  Coming as it did in the middle of the impeachment hearing, it reminded many people of the way in which Christine Blasey Ford's allegations suddenly popped up during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.  It let Democrats turn his hearing into a circus, so why not do the same to President Trump's impeachment?

For Bolton and his publishers, too, the timing was perfect, because it offered the type of advertising money can't buy:

Even the New York Times' own Maggie Haberman noticed the coincidence:

Scott Adams had an entirely different take, which is that Bolton's statement is actually a huge win for Trump:

Adams's take makes a lot of sense because the NSC had to pre-clear the book for publication.  (In one of life's amazing little coincidences, Lt. Col. Alex Vindman's twin brother was the person in charge of reviewing all NSC publications — something that may explain the leak.)

Putting aside the timing, though, the real problem with Bolton's purported revelations is that they don't matter.  It's totally irrelevant whether Trump toyed with the idea of tying releasing the money to investigating corruption — although it's worth noting that this corruption was once obvious even to the media.  Speaking before the Senate today, Pam Bondi showed with devastating clarity that the real issue isn't Trump's casual request that Ukraine investigate Biden's corruption, but, instead, Biden's corruption itself:

Democrats ignore that what's important here is what Trump actually did, as opposed to what he toyed with doing.  And what he did was have a telephone call with Zelensky in which he told Zelensky that, when it came to aid, Europe was falling down on the job, even though it would be more affected by Russian aggression than America would be.  Long after mentioning the aid, almost as an afterthought, Trump asked if Ukraine could check into the question of Biden's son, because it was becoming an issue in America.

No quid.  No pro.  No quo.  After releasing the funds, almost two weeks before the deadline Congress had set, Trump had a nice meeting with Zelensky.  And that's it.  That's the whole story.  Bolton's reports about Trump's prior fulminations are completely superseded by Trump's actions.

The best thing to come out of this whole affair is a poster (hat tip: Ace of Spades):