FPM: Why Bolton’s Testimony on ‘Quid Pro Quo’ is a Waste of Time

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/01/john-boltons-testimony-quid-pro-quo-waste-time-joseph-klein/

Some people say President Trump committed extortion against Ukraine. I challenge those who do to answer each of the following questions:

a) What did the extortion consist of?

b) When did it occur?

c) How was the extortion communicated to the Ukrainians?

d) What events occurred to show that the extortion was carried out?

If specific answers to all four of those questions cannot be given, then there was no extortion either in law or in fact.

It might be that John Bolton and President Trump discussed the idea of extortion, but talking and doing are two different things.

36 thoughts on “FPM: Why Bolton’s Testimony on ‘Quid Pro Quo’ is a Waste of Time

  1. Read the FPM piece and I gleaned the following:

    Dershowitz is the GREATEST Constitutional scholar of all time. All of the others who disagree with him are just pikers PRETENDING to understand what the Constitution and our founders said regarding impeachment. Alan need not EVER represent another celebrity again. His scholarly bona fides are absolutely in tact.

    Also, only Biden wanted the corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor fired. Well, then, by G-d, he must be corrupt for advancing actual national interests regarding aid to Ukraine. I guess the other western powers who support Ukraine and want to see actual corruption rooted out were really just backing Uncle Joe because his son needed protection.

    Once again, a “media” source comes out in defense of attempted extortion or bribery by Donald Trump. Because when HE does it, it isn’t a crime. But when others do, well, it just has to be.

    For those of you who are wondering, I had to clear my computer screen form the coffee that shot out my nose and then plant my tongue firmly in my cheek to post this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “Read the FPM piece and I gleaned the following…”

      You have a vivid imagination. General impressions aside, is there something specific you wish to discuss? Perhaps, for example, you’d like to dispute this statement: “The Ukrainian prosecutor general obtained a renewal of a court order to seize the assets of Burisma’s reportedly corrupt owner, Zlochevsky.”

      If true, this checkable fact would suggest that the reasons you sometimes cite for wanting to fire Shokin are false.

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      1. Well good gravy, Mr. Roberts. I guess the fact that Shokin let the investigation of Burisma and it’s oligarch owner went dormant (not ended, just dormant) because he stopped doing any real investigating means all was hunky dory.
        What does that have to do with Trump withholding aid, illegally according to the GAO, from Ukraine until they ‘anonced’ and investigation into Biden’s corruption.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “I guess the fact that Shokin let the investigation of Burisma and it’s oligarch owner went dormant (not ended, just dormant) because he stopped doing any real investigating means all was hunky dory.”

        The allegation is that the investigation was not in fact dormant. Should be easy to disprove.

        RE: “What does that have to do with Trump withholding aid, illegally according to the GAO, from Ukraine until they ‘anonced’ and investigation into Biden’s corruption.”

        It goes to the question whether it was reasonable for the president to want Biden investigated. If Shokin was wrongly fired, Trump had reason to question Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts.

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        1. RE: “Maybe this will answer your second point.”

          It doesn’t. It just repeats the same tired fallacy that there is no evidence Joe Biden did anything wrong. But the fact is, Biden demanded Shokin’s firing within a month of Shokin getting a court order to seize the assets of the owner of the company Biden’s son worked for.

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          1. Well it seems that no mater the information or the source, you will remain staunchly in defense of him. You asked a question. I provided an answer from a reliable source outside of the normal channels, and yet you still say not good enough.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. @Roberts

      Your four questions have all been answered in great detail in the case presented by the House managers. If it floats your boat to pretend otherwise, knock yourself out.

      By the way, if you are going to comment on this you should understand that “extortion” does not require that anything be “carried out.” It is the threat that is “extortion” – not the action or inaction threatened. If a blackmailer says to you . . . “I will put these pictures of you with that child on the internet if you do not pay me $1,000” you have been the victim of extortion whether the threat is “carried out” or not.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: “Your four questions have all been answered in great detail in the case presented by the House managers.”

        I am familiar wtth the case the House managers presented and I assert that they have not, in fact, answered the questions. But if you think they have, it should be easy for you to jot up succinct and compelling answers for the benefit of the Forum. That is the challenge.

        To your point about extortion, the four questions still apply. Both actions and inactions have material consequences. If Trump in fact threatened the Ukrainians (questions a) thru c)), you should be able to descibe the consequences (question d)).

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        1. Okay, I will play along . . .

          (a . . . If you do not do me this favor, the meeting you desperately need and the military assistance that might help stop Russians from killing so many of your young people will not be coming. That is extortion. And since releasing the aid and holding a meeting are official acts of office of the President, it is a demand for a bribe.

          (b . . . Over and extended period of time both before and after the “perfect” phone call.

          (c . . . By agents of Trump such as Rudy Giuliani and Sondland telling the Ukrainians what they had to do.

          (d . . . The illegal quid pro quo was demanded. That is in itself enough for the crime of extortion. But in additions, the vital military aid WAS delayed, Ukrainian soldiers WERE put at risk and the desired meeting was NOT scheduled. If you think the extortion was nullified by the fact that Trump released the aid when he got caught, you are wrong.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. @Roberts

            Well, thanks for the “not bad”

            I will respectfully disagree. There is nothing in the House record that credibly refutes any of my answers to your question.

            Trump’s unsolicited statement “No quid pro quo” which you seem to take at face value was too little to late – an obvious a bit of cover-your-assery” and, of course, he stupidly asked about the status of the quo in that same conversation. LOL!

            The record shows that the Ukrainians knew about the hold almost immediately. It defies commons sense to think they are in a shooting war and were not following the progress of the aid they needed.

            Zelensky wanted the show of support that a state visit to the White House. He got a brief photo op at an international meeting. Not the same thing at all. And that was AFTER the whistle had been blown as was the release of the aid. Threaten to hold the aid is the extortion and it WAS held up. That hold up is what got the professionals into a frenzy – including some GOP Senators.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “an obvious a bit of cover-your-assery”

            Obvious to you, maybe, but not a statement of fact. The assertion is mere mind reading.

            RE: “The record shows that the Ukrainians knew about the hold almost immediately.”

            If so, I’m not aware of it. Do you have a reference?

            RE: “Zelensky wanted the show of support that a state visit to the White House.”

            More mind reading.

            RE: “Threaten to hold the aid is the extortion and it WAS held up.”

            So you say, but held up and delayed are not the same thing. The aide was delivered on time according to the original schedule. Surely you don’t mean to imply that meeting the scheduled obligation is somehow a violation of national security interests.

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        2. RE: “Okay, I will play along…”

          Not bad. Your answers help clarify the nature of the puzzle we are dealing with. That is, some of your statements are contradicted by the record the House managers compiled:

          • The military aid the president and Zelinski discussed in their phone call was not the aid the “extortion” was based on.

          • The “extortion” formula was developed by Sondland in a freelance operation, a “drug deal” according to John Bolton/Fiona Hill. It might have been widely discussed at the State Department, or even in the White House, but when Sondland took it to the president for confirmation, the president explicitly shut it down.

          • The “extortion” formula was apparently unknown to the Ukrainians until an article appearing in Politico long after the president’s phone call with Zelinski alerted them to the possibility of a hold on a forthcoming aid package.

          • The president agreed to meet with Zelinski several times without preconditions. He in fact met with Zelinski without preconditions.

          • Even if the extortion threat was made (and there is no record that it was), the aid that supposedly was threatened was in fact delivered on schedule.

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  2. Timeline makes Bolton a fraud.

    On Jan 23rd, Bolton was informed by the NSC that portions of his manuscript contained classified and even Top Secret information that could not be published without redaction. 4 days later the NYT published statements based on the manuscript. That could not have come from the NSC as they had placed a hold on the manuscript 4 days earlier. Those portions of the manuscript had to come from Bolton or his publisher as an attempt to force the NSC’s hand on the redaction.

    In any case, someone is in deep trouble.

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    1. If that were truly the case, the authorities would have already taken action against Bolton and his publisher. Just ask Snowden how quick the NSA and other LE organizations at the federal level take action against those who leak, knowingly, classified information.

      Do you have something to back up your statement? If so, I would be interested to see it.

      Like

        1. https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/480599-boltons-lawyer-in-letter-disputes-nsc-assessment-that-unpublished

          Bolton is a very astute pro in this government. I would bet a decent amount that he knows there is no top secret material in his book.

          The White House is stalling and probably lying. Business as usual.

          This story is about 3 hours old.

          PS: the latest polls show 75% of Americans want witnesses. Including 49% Republicans and 60 Independents. The book will come out and the Senators up for re-election are not going to want to answer questions about denying testimonies at every campaign stop.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Fair is fair.

            The Democrats called 17 witnesses in the House hearings, and allowed the Republicans none, nor did they allow the GOP to cross examine their witnesses as they wished.

            So, let the GOP call their 17 witnesses and if the Democrats want to go on after that, they can go one then the other.

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          2. No cross examination? Are you serious? Meadows, Jordan, that freshman from NY, and a bunch more including their attorney, did nothing but attack, yell, rant, interrupt and throw spitballs at every witness.

            And Trump stonewalled every thing else.

            But the fix has been in since McConnell has been majority leader.

            Proof: the “selling point” to Republican senators on no witnesses is that he’s going to be acquitted anyway so why bother to hear the truth.

            So Trump is now firmly above the law so long as the GOP has the Senate.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. No ‘no cross examination’ but both Schiff and Nadler would not allow witnesses to answer critical questions, particularly with regard to Schiff’s staff’s interactions with the alleged whitleblower prior to his comolaint.

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          4. https://www.politifact.com/facebook-fact-checks/statements/2019/oct/04/facebook-posts/theres-no-evidence-schiff-helped-write-whistleblow/

            Since all the whistleblower’s allegations were corroborated by the edited “transcript” from the administration plus all the evidence provided in sworn testimony there is no reason to risk exposing the identity of the person.

            Smokescreen by team Trump.

            But, nobody cares if Trump is above the law so long as he packs the courts and dirties our air and water for profit.

            And that is the only unbridled truth from this regime.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. There is reason to determine if the whitleblower’s complaint originated from Schiff or his staff rather than from 2nd hand accounts by those who actually heard the call.

            If Schiff, or his staff, were involved before the complaint was made, the whistleblower and Schiff are guilty of perjury and the probable cause for the inquiry was invalid.

            That is a very serious matter. Schiff is not above the law either.

            Due process is there for a reason.

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          6. At most, the whistleblower was seeking advice as to how to proceed. Due process has nothing to do with that.

            How does perjury enter this?

            Liked by 1 person

          7. https://www.factcheck.org/2019/10/schiff-wrong-on-whistleblower-contact/

            It seems to me that it is the norm for a whistleblower to contact Congress for advice. Nunes had said it was a normal occurrence. It also seems that Schiff may not have talked directly, but rather the info came through an aide for the Intelligence Committee.

            At worst, I would say that Schiff was not forthcoming about the contact. But that, to me, is not good, but hardly earthshaking.

            It still doesn’t have much to do with all the testimony and information that the whistleblower initiated.

            When did Schiff testify under oath?

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          8. Surely you aren’t implying that the GOP Senators should place their duty under the Constitution behind tactical advantage in the coming election?

            That would make them no better than Democrats.

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          9. Nice tap dance.

            If there is a witness that was denied the House but is willing to testify when it counts and his testimony appears to make the defense a total sham then duty to the nation would require he be heard.

            But as we know duty to the Constitution ranks low for GOP senators when they fear Trump’s pike.

            Banana republic here we are.

            Liked by 2 people

          10. @Tabor

            Your analysis of the role of the whistle blower is nonsense. However he came to know about these crimes is completely irrelevant. His complaint is NOT part of the evidence. Whatever the source of the information in his complaint, subsequent work by Congress has shown it to be accurate.

            If somehow Schiff set him in motion based on information that came to Congress another way that does not explain how Schiff got Trump and Barr to ILLEGALLY try to bury the complaint. A Jedi mind trick? Or was it consciousness of guilt?

            As for “probable cause” there is no such standard for initiating Congressional inquiries. As someone who was cheer leading for umpteen investigations of Benghazi you should know that.

            Like

          11. @Tabor

            Schiff guilty of perjuring himself in front of the Senate? Uh, no.

            It is lucky for Trump’s lawyers that only witnesses are subject to a charge of perjury. The lawyers are not under oath and are not testifying. At least they are not supposed to be but Cipollone makes points based on his personal participation in the events and yet he is not under oath nor subject to cross examination. That is an ethics violation called the “advocate-witness rule” at the very least.

            Odd that to support this claim that Schiff has committed perjury you provide a link to a story from October about things that he said to the press – has nothing to do with Senate “testimony.” And that story is old news brought up again and again as part of a smoke screen to hide the criminal behind. Again both sad and laughable.

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  3. @Tabor

    Again your “logic” is badly impaired.

    This time when you say “That could not have come from the NSC as they had placed a hold on the manuscript 4 days earlier.”

    You have no idea and no way of knowing who on the NSC staff had access to the draft and for that matter other people around Trump because it is very likely that he would demand to see what was in it. Also, you have no idea and no way of knowing what ANY of those people may have done with the manuscript before or after this ruling to classify some of it. You also do not know if the Top Secret portions were on some other topic entirely and that what was leaked by someone did not touch on those matters.

    In short, you know nothing and have no way of knowing anything about it, but that does not stop you from sliming Mr. Bolton for not aiding and abetting the cover up. Typical of the knee jerk partisan hackery on display by all of Trump’s apologists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The NSC has said that no one outside its agency has been given access to the manuscript, including the DOJ which will also have to approve it after the national security issues have been resolved.

      That means that the portions of the manuscript that the NYT has had to come from Bolton or his publisher, as no one else has it and neither Bolton nor his publisher are allowed to pass any part of it on until the review is complete.

      Whether what was given to the NYT is a criminal violation of national security or a civil violation of Bolton’s NDA is not yet known.

      Like

      1. @Tabor

        It means no such thing. You have no idea how many copies of the draft are floating around and who has them. It is well-known that Trump does not inspire loyalty. Given Bolton’s career at the top levels of the national security bureaucracy it is unpersuasive to assume that he, for no reason, has committed a crime in this situation. If he wanted revenge on Trump he could simply go to Congress. His personal financial interests would be better served by a book that was NOT leaked.

        Liked by 1 person

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