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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Laurence Tribe: Dershowitz Defense Of Trump ‘Extreme’ And ‘Dangerous’ | ...

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Why Having Hunter Biden Testify Would Be Bad for Trump

Why Having Hunter Biden Testify Would Be Bad for Trump

“If it means John Bolton would also testify in the impeachment trial, it could help the Democrats.

If there are to be witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump — at this moment an unknown — John Bolton and Hunter Biden would almost certainly be among those called to testify. Some people on Capitol Hill describe it as a one-for-one trade.
This idea has been widely dismissed by both sides. Democrats say Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, is irrelevant to the issues in the articles of impeachment. The president and Republicans assert that Mr. Bolton, the former national security adviser who was fired by Mr. Trump — Mr. Bolton says he quit — is simply promoting a forthcoming book and has nothing meaningful to say.
To my own surprise, I now think that such an arrangement might well be highly valuable — for the country.
For some time, I was against the Democrats’ offering any Biden as a witness in Mr. Trump’s trial, on principle. Just because the Republicans want to batter Hunter Biden is no reason to submit either him or his father as fodder to hostile Republicans. But principle can be turned on its head; calling Hunter Biden could backfire on the Republicans big time.
In a television interview last October Joe Biden’s sole surviving and troubled son came across as a straightforward, unassuming guy: He conceded that he most likely wouldn’t have been asked to join the lucrative board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma, or been offered other opportunities, but for his last name.
A multitude of investigations of his arrangement with Burisma have turned up no wrongdoing on Hunter’s part — other than inviting the appearance of a conflict of interest, since at the time his father was in charge of Ukraine policy for Barack Obama. Having him appear as a witness could expose the fatuity of the Republicans’ efforts to smear him and his father. In fact, a number of Republicans actually don’t want to call the younger Biden. They’re worried about the circus atmosphere that might present — and they’d rather have the issue linger as a useful weapon. Acceding to Hunter as a witness would call the Republicans’ bluff.
Having Joe Biden’s son testify would illuminate the Bidens’ irrelevance to the issue of whether the president held up congressionally appropriated military assistance for Ukraine until the Ukrainian president announced — not necessarily conducted, just announced — a government investigation into the Bidens’ role. An appearance by Hunter before Senate questioners now could also go some distance toward removing him as an issue in the general election, should his father be the Democratic nominee. In fact, Hunter could be the star witness as to why a president’s (or vice president’s) offspring should stay out of any business that might have something to do with their parents’ job.
Moreover Joe Biden is at his most moving when he talks about his family and what it has been through: The Republicans could be handing him a lovely opportunity to make a knockout campaign speech.
And several advantages would accrue to the Democrats if Mr. Bolton were to testify. First, this would undermine the White House’s and Republicans’ plan to terminate the trial with a vote to acquit Mr. Trump by the end of this week. Second, Mr. Bolton could smash the White House’s and Republicans’ argument that there is no direct evidence that Mr. Trump himself directly linked military aid to Ukraine to a request that the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, announce an investigation of the Bidens. (Mr. Bolton reportedly said as much in an unpublished manuscript of his forthcoming book, causing the White House to threaten to block its publication.)

Third, the longer the trial drags on the greater opportunity there is for more damaging information to arrive on the Democrats’ doorstep. Even if gathering the two-thirds Senate vote to remove Trump from office remains beyond reach, a secondary goal of the Democrats is to make Trump’s acquittal as unglorious as possible. The more an acquittal hinges on preposterous limits on disclosure of information and on preventing witness testimony, the less valid it will seem.
As in the case of the Mueller report, this won’t stop Mr. Trump from declaring a fabulous victory. But the Democrats, with the Republicans in control of the Senate and so far essentially united on not convicting the president and removing him from office, have to go with what they can get. Democrats publicly brush off suggestions of a Biden-for-Bolton witness swap, but that could be a negotiating position.
It’s odd that after three years of a Trump administration, Republicans didn’t foresee the danger in putting their political careers in the hands of a man who’s out solely for himself and has a very distant relationship with the truth. But they clearly felt that they had no choice, and thus they enabled Mr. Trump to take them out on his limb. They are so frightened of him and his base that they have accepted his demand that his bullying phone call with Mr. Zelensky be considered “perfect.” This has left them, as well as him, no wiggle room. Which makes a Bolton appearance all the more dangerous.
Also, having Mr. Bolton testify offers him and his newfound Democratic allies an opportunity to make other damaging disclosures that may not yet have been discovered in his book or may not lie therein. He can elaborate on another bit of damaging goods from his book that has already been revealed: that in Bolton’s view(he’s not alone in this) Mr. Trump has seemed particularly complaisant toward autocrats. Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial, had planned to investigate whether Mr. Trump’s foreign policy has been guided by his business investments. Mr. Bolton may know if this occurred.
Mr. Trump’s company, from which he hasn’t divested his interest, has property in at least two countries led by autocrats with whom he’s on especially friendly terms: Turkey and the Philippines. Mr. Bolton has written that he worried about Mr. Trump’s particular warmth toward the leaders of China and Turkey. Might Mr. Trump’s subdued reaction to demonstrations in Hong Kong and to Turkey’s decision to invade northern Syria have anything to do with Trump company business?
Mr. Bolton may also know about other conversations with foreign leaders locked in the supersecret computer system where the full conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky was consigned. We’ve only seen a scrubbed transcript of that conversation. Why? And are there other conversations with foreign leaders revealing blunders or abuses of power by Mr. Trump stored there as well?
John Bolton might have answers. Democrats should strike a deal, even an implicit one, to get him on the witness stand.
Elizabeth Drew, a political journalist who for many years covered Washington for The New Yorker, is the author of “Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall.”

To Senate Republicans, a Vote for Witnesses Is a Vote for Trouble

To Senate Republicans, a Vote for Witnesses Is a Vote for Trouble

“Lawmakers fear allowing new testimony would tie up the Senate indefinitely and open the door to a cascade of new accusations.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In the end, the impeachment calculation nearly all Senate Republicans are making is fairly simple: They would rather look as if they ignored relevant evidence than plunge the Senate into an unpredictable, open-ended inquiry that would anger President Trump and court political peril.

As Republicans lined up on Wednesday behind blocking witnesses in the trial, their reasoning reflected the worry that allowing testimony by John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser whose unpublished manuscript contradicts a central part of Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense, would undoubtedly lead to a cascade of other witnesses. They in turn could provide more damaging disclosures and tie up the Senate indefinitely, when the ultimate verdict — an acquittal of the president — is not in doubt.

“For the sake of argument, one could assume everything attributable to John Bolton is accurate, and still the House would fall well below the standards to remove a president from office,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

Republicans have offered myriad rationales for refusing new testimony: Gathering it was the House’s job. Calling more witnesses would lead to prolonged court fights over executive privilege. They had heard more than enough evidence to reach a verdict. There was not enough evidence to show they needed more information. Allowing the House to force the Senate into a drawn-out impeachment trial would set a dangerous institutional precedent. In essence, during what they hoped would be the final hours of Mr. Trump’s trial, Senate Republicans were constructing a permission structure for not trying to get to the bottom of what happened, with the hope that voters would find their explanations satisfactory and reasonable.

“We don’t need Mr. Bolton to come in and to extend this show longer, along with any other witnesses people might want, and occupy all of our time here in the Senate for the next few weeks, maybe even months,” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas and a close ally of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said Tuesday evening on Fox.

Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff and a top outside adviser to Mr. McConnell, made it clear that Republicans viewed the idea of calling witnesses as a disaster in the making.

“More witnesses = Hindenburg,” Mr. Holmes wrote Wednesday on Twitter, showing a picture of the flaming airship. “None of it changes ultimate acquittal.”

Mr. McConnell has maneuvered to head off the conflagration. In a private meeting with senators on Tuesday, he warned rank-and-file Republicans that he was short of the votes to thwart a Democratic call for witnesses, an unmistakable tactic to bring wavering lawmakers into line.

On Wednesday morning, he summoned a key swing vote, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to his office for a private meeting. She emerged refusing to speak about her intentions. And when the question-and-answer period opened later in the day, he gave the first question to three of the remaining Republican holdouts for witnesses: Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Ms. Murkowski and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah. The move signaled that Mr. McConnell was singularly focused on providing them the answers they needed to feel comfortable ending the trial without more evidence.

Nearly all of the politically vulnerable Senate Republicans up for re-election in November have embraced their party’s strategy. They have made it clear that they favor taking their chances defending their votes against witnesses over trying to explain to voters loyal to Mr. Trump why they backed broadening an investigation into a president who is very popular with the Republican electorate.

Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican trying to hang on to his Senate seat in a state that has turned increasingly liberal, illustrated that point on Wednesday when he said he would not support additional witnesses. That stance is likely to draw considerable blowback from critics at home but endear him to Republicans.

“I do not believe we need to hear from an 18th witness,” he said in a statement, emphasizing that the House had already heard from plenty of people.

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

While polls show broad bipartisan support for calling new witnesses, Mr. Gardner, who protectively endorsed Mr. Trump’s re-election months ago, is keenly aware that he stands no chance without the wholehearted backing of the president. Republicans live with the reality that a critical tweet from the president can quickly send their campaigns into a tailspin, a point reinforced by the president’s latest warning shot on Wednesday morning.

“Remember Republicans,” he wrote on Twitter, “Witnesses are up to the House, not up to the Senate. Don’t let the Dems play you!”

Ms. Collins is the only Republican up for re-election who is now seen as a likely vote for more witnesses. She is the rare member of her party who still seeks to appeal to a broad range of independent and even Democratic voters as well as Republicans. Her fellow Republicans say they see her as being in a unique position, and they have given her ample running room to do what she believes is best for her re-election, even if it causes them problems.

Republicans insist that they have given the House case against Mr. Trump seriousreview and have found it wanting. They are also obviously chafing against the constraints of the trial, forced to sit quietly in the chamber for hours on end, when they are much more accustomed to making their presence known at hearings and during floor votes and then exiting at their convenience. The thought of the trial continuing, with no end in sight and the result preordained, incites despair in many of them.

But it is not just their schedules they see at risk if the Senate were to go down the path of new witnesses. Republicans have increasingly pointed to the fact that the Democratic-controlled House has forced the Republican-led Senate into an impeachment trial to the exclusion of almost all other activity under strict Senate rules. They say allowing the House to effectively freeze the Senate would set a dangerous precedent.

“To make something out of the two impeachment articles would send an incredibly bad message to every House after this,” said Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership. “If you really want to shut the Senate down, just send them a vague article of impeachment.”

Democrats dismiss that complaint as well as the others raised by Republicans, saying they are simply in search of justification for failing to conduct a thorough review of the behavior of a president with a firm hold on voters who are essential to their individual political survival, as well as Republican control of the Senate.

Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

“They keep coming up with excuses,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, who added that Republicans’ claims that witnesses would chew up weeks or months of Senate time were exaggerated and that he believed the testimony could be secured and wrapped up in a week or two.

If Republicans were so worried about precedent, he said, they should be concerned with what will happen if Mr. Trump is acquitted without the Senate taking the necessary steps to parse all the information it can about his conduct.

“If he’s allowed to completely stonewall, to do absolute obstruction on everything and not be held accountable, he’ll do it again and again, and future presidents will do it again and again,” Mr. Schumer said. “And this grand experiment we call democracy will have been fatally, fatally eroded.”

Still, Mr. Schumer conceded on Wednesday that his hopes of additional witnesses were growing fainter as the Republican leadership worked to lock down senators and bring the momentous proceeding to a close as soon as the vote on whether to call witnesses was concluded — a move now expected on Friday.

A slim possibility still existed that other Republicans would join Democrats and Ms. Collins and Mr. Romney in calling for more testimony, upending the party’s game plan. But nearly all Republicans were more than ready to vote, and they did not need new witnesses to confirm their verdict that it was past time to bring a speedy end to the trial.

Carl Hulse is chief Washington correspondent and a veteran of more than three decades of reporting in the capital. @hillhulse

To Senate Republicans, a Vote for Witnesses Is a Vote for Trouble

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Trump Lawyer Alan Dershowitz Shocks the Impeachment Trial | The Daily Show. Alan Dershowitz is a fool or pretends to be one.

Sen. Harris: 'There cannot be a true acquittal if there's not been a fair trial'

Sen. Harris: 'There cannot be a true acquittal if there's not been a fair trial'

Wallace: 'I don't know whether to cry or laugh at McConnell's political stupidity'

Could Sanders Sweep Iowa And New Hampshire? l FiveThirtyEight

Vote Latino came up with this wonderful bumper sticker. “Dump Trump 2020”

Russian documents reveal desire to sow racial discord — and violence — in the U.S.

Russian documents reveal desire to sow racial discord — and violence — in the U.S.

The revelations come as U.S. intelligence agencies have warned of probable Russian meddling in the 2020 election.

LONDON — Russians who were linked to interference in the 2016 U.S. election discussed ambitious plans to stoke unrest and even violence inside the U.S. as recently as 2018, according to documents reviewed by NBC News.
The documents — communications between associates of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-linked oligarch indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for previous influence operations against the U.S. — laid out a new plot to manipulate and radicalize African Americans. The plans show that Prigozhin’s circle has sought to exploit racial tensions well beyond Russia’s social media and misinformation efforts tied to the 2016 election.
The documents were obtained through the Dossier Center, a London-based investigative project funded by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky. NBC News has not independently verified the materials, but forensic analysis by the Dossier Center appeared to substantiate the communications.
One document said that President Donald Trump’s election had “deepened conflicts in American society” and suggested that, if successful, the influence project would “undermine the country’s territorial integrity and military and economic potential.”
The revelations come as U.S. intelligence agencies have warned of probable Russian meddling in the 2020 election.

The documents contained proposals for several ways to further exacerbate racial discord in the future, including a suggestion to recruit African Americans and transport them to camps in Africa “for combat prep and training in sabotage.” Those recruits would then be sent back to America to foment violence and work to establish a pan-African state in the South, particularly in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
There is no indication that the plan — which is light on details — was ever put into action, but it offers a fresh example of the mindset around Russian efforts to sow discord in the U.S.
The blueprint, entitled “Development Strategy of a Pan-African State on U.S. Territory,” floated the idea of enlisting poor, formerly incarcerated African Americans “who have experience in organized crime groups” as well as members of “radical black movements for participation in civil disobedience actions.”
The goal was to “destabilize the internal situation in the U.S.”
Frank Figliuzzi, a former assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI and an NBC News contributor, who reviewed the documents, said that they offer a warning to the U.S.
“Regardless of whether or not these plans are an amateurish thought experiment, the fact that these people are talking about doing this should disturb Americans of all stripes,” Figliuzzi said.
“The unfortunate reality is that we’re seeing an adversary that will consider virtually anything to get what it wants, and if it means violence or splitting America along racial lines or eroding our trust in institutions, they’ll do it.”
Some of the documents appear to have been sent by Dzheykhun “Jay” Aslanov, an employee of the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based troll farm that played a key role in the 2016 Russian meddling campaign. Aslanov was one of 13 Russians indicted by Mueller in February 2018 for his role with the IRA.
The plan was shared with Mikhail Potepkin, a Russian businessman, who then circulated it more widely, according to communications reviewed by NBC News.
Both Aslanov and Potepkin have been linked to Prigozhin, a Russian catering magnate often described as “Putin’s chef.” Prigozhin was also indicted by Mueller for funding the IRA. Widely perceived as a Kremlin operative, he has been connected to a shadowy mercenary outfit known as the Wagner Group, whose guns-for-hire are reported to have been involved in Russian military operations in Syria and Eastern Ukraine, according to U.S. military officials.
The Mueller report exposed how Russian trolls, employed by associates of Prigozhin, deliberately inflamed racial tensions by spreading false and incendiary stories to African Americans via social media. Among the objectives was to suppress black turnout in the 2016 U.S. election.
Another of the newly obtained documents is a map of the U.S. overlaid with information about African American population size in seven southern states. Also included are the number of subscribers to websites and social media accounts that were set up by Russian trolls at the IRA to spread race-baiting rhetoric, the latter of which were later removed by the social media companies.
Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., who was briefed on the documents, said they highlight how ongoing racial issues in the U.S. can be used in misinformation efforts.
“Russia understands how critical the African American vote is to determining the outcome of elections,” said Demings, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. “And because we have not effectively dealt with racism as a country ourselves, I believe we've made ourselves vulnerable to foreign powers like Russia to continue to try to undermine.”
The documents also discuss how to expand Russia’s clout on the African continent and win business there, from arms sales to mining contracts. They outline propaganda efforts to target Africans and stir up negative opinions about Europe and the U.S.
Cooking up elaborate interference schemes is standard practice within Prigozhin’s circle, according to Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russian intelligence and author of “The Red Web,” a book on Russian information warfare.
“This is typical of the way Prigozhin and his team operate,” Soldatov said. “They come up with pitches, some of them very ambitious. They discuss many possible ideas and then send the pitches to the Kremlin to be authorized or rejected. It’s their modus operandi.”
The idea of African American statehood has an intellectual precedent in Russia. During the early 20th century, communists in America proposed forming a “black-belt nation” in the South. Some party members traveled to the Soviet Union for training.
“Even though these kinds of initiatives from the Russians aren’t new to us, what is new is the rapidity with which they can get this message out on social media and saturate the American consumer with these kinds of thoughts,” said Figliuzzi, the former FBI official. “That puts the Russian initiative on steroids and should scare all of us.”

The Electability Argument Is Really About Party Unity Moderate Democrats need to pledge to vote for the party nominee, even if it is Warren or Sanders.

IIn these last days before the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders has enjoyed a surge in the polls that has thrown moderate Democrats into a panic. A poll released on Wednesday by Crooked Media/Change Research puts Sanders at the top of the field with 27 percent, trailed by Pete Buttigieg (19 percent), Joe Biden (18 per cent), Elizabeth Warren (15 percent), and Amy Klobuchar (10 percent). In national polls, the gap between the Biden and Sanders continues to narrow. In the aggregation of polls by Real Clear Politics, Biden stands at 28.4 percent to Sanders’s 23 percent. It’s easy now to see a path for victory for Sanders: He could win the first three states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada), which would give him enough momentum to overtake Joe Biden (whose supporters are much less committed than Sanders’s loyal base).

The prospect of Sanders being the nominee has unnerved moderate Democrats as well as their allies among Never Trump Republicans. This panic has led a Super PAC (Democratic Majority for Israel) to start pushing anti-Sanders ads. It’s also produced a spate of nervous columns warning of the risks of a Sanders candidacy in New York magazineThe New York Times, The Atlantic, and Slate.

Jonathan Chait’s New York piece is the most valuable example of this genrebecause it contains a revealing contradiction. Chait rehearsed the familiar litany of concerns about Sanders: the unpopularity of the socialist label that Sanders has embraced, Sanders’s history of associations with radical groups like the Socialist Workers Party, the indiscreet sexual writing Sanders did as a young man, and the success that Democrats have had in fielding moderate candidates in the 2018 midterms compared to the failure of more progressive candidates in the same election cycle.

All of these are serious concerns, although many of them can convincingly be shown to be less worrying than Chait thinks. For example, Chait argues that in 2018, “while progressives managed to nominate several candidates in red districts—Kara Eastman in Nebraska, Richard Ojeda in West Virginia, and many others—any one of whose victory they would have cited as proof that left-wing candidates can win Trump districts, not a single one of them prevailed in November.” But as Princeton historian Matt Karp notes, even though Ojeda lost, he did 25 percent better than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

Bolton Revelations Put Pressure On GOP To Allow Witnesses In Trump Impea...

Trial Bombshell: Trump Insider Sides With Bolton On Ukraine, Implying Tr...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Method in John Bolton’s Madness

 What is John Bolton thinking?

The former national security adviser has indicated that he would testify in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump if subpoenaed. Leaked passages from the manuscript of his forthcoming book indicate that, contrary to assertions by Mr. Trump and his defenders, the president unequivocally conditioned the release of foreign assistance to Ukraine on whether its government would investigate Democrats, including Joe and Hunter Biden, and furnish politically damaging information about them.

The revelations have bolstered the Democrats’ heretofore flagging case for calling witnesses in the trial — Mr. Bolton in particular — and produced fissures between the White House and congressional Republicans.

Mr. Bolton, an often vituperative and very hawkish conservative Republican, is ostensibly a political ally of Mr. Trump’s. It’s complicated, of course: Mr. Trump fired Mr. Bolton, reportedly because of the latter’s overly aggressive views regarding Iran; then again, Mr. Trump ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran, a move that Mr. Bolton presumably supported. So Mr. Bolton’s motives for potentially undermining the president position may, at first blush, seem confusing. But there may be a method to the madness — four of them, in fact.

The first is patriotism. Although Mr. Bolton does hold extreme views about the use of American power, there is little doubt about his basic fealty to the United States constitutional system and to established American institutions. Having come of political age during the Cold War, he is a strong supporter of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and an opponent of Russia’s revanchism under President Vladimir Putin. 

When Mr. Trump mused about withdrawing the United States from the NATO alliance in 2018, Mr. Bolton was reportedly distressed and rallied to keep it from happening. And, in questioning fellow Republican Jon Huntsman’s decision to serve as ambassador to China in President Barack Obama’s administration in 2011, Mr. Bolton said, “There is no patriotic obligation to help advance the career of a politician who is otherwise pursuing interests that are fundamentally antithetical to your values.” In other words, Mr. Trump’s frequent demeaning of the Atlantic alliance, his obtuse bromance with Putin, and his apparent acquiescence in Russian interference with the American electoral process may have persuaded Mr. Bolton to desert the president on principle.

Then there are his professional principles. Mr. Bolton, unlike Mr. Trump and some of the fiercest members of his inner circle, is a seasoned government professional with an informed respect for the institutional architecture and ethos of American foreign policy. Before becoming Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Mr. Bolton served as acting ambassador to the United Nations, undersecretary of state, assistant secretary of state and assistant attorney general.

Mr. Bolton reportedly characterized Mr. Trump’s meddling with aid to Ukraine as a “drug deal” — a crude metaphor for actions that violate his sense of foreign policy professionalism. He also disdained the president’s circumvention of normal diplomatic channels by informally enlisting Rudolph Giuliani, his personal lawyer, whom Mr. Bolton called a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” Separate from his sense of patriotic duty, Mr. Bolton may have felt that Mr. Trump had so demeaned the integrity of the foreign policy structure that something radical had to be done.

Well, maybe. Another explanation is personal indignation and greed. Mr. Bolton spent much of his career dreaming of the national security adviser job, and reportedly lobbied the president for it for years. And, of course, his book is due to come out March 17, and these revelations are sure to make it an instant best seller (a fact not lost on the president: Mr. Trump’s backers have predictably cast him as a “disgruntled” former employee, and Mr. Trump himself has accused him of merely trying to sell books).

Let’s not judge John Bolton too harshly, though. He lasted almost a year and a half in a job under a famously mercurial president, and toward the end was reportedly unhappy in it. And his book, for which he received a reported $2 million advance, didn’t need this revelation to make it a hot item or line his pockets. So while I’m sure Mr. Bolton doesn’t mind a taste of revenge and higher book sales, in all likelihood the two more honorable factors feature more heavily in Mr. Bolton’s decision-making.

But there’s one more motive: personal ambition. This is not a man known for his humility. Don’t forget that Mr. Bolton harbors presidential dreams; he came close to a run in 2015, and he maintains a political action committee, through which he doles out money to Republican politicians. And even if Mr. Bolton has let that particular dream die, it’s unlikely that he has hung up his government spurs — instead, he may judge that the Trump ship is sinking and figure that Mr. Bolton might as well accelerate the process and try to position himself  for a post in the next administration.

That short-term calculation of Mr. Trump’s political fortunes may not be sound, and Mr. Bolton may be a ruthless pragmatist. But if he does end up further exposing Mr. Trump’s duplicity, in the fullness of time Mr. Bolton will end up, however fortuitously, on the right side of history. That’s a better legacy than he might have secured merely as the third of Mr. Trump’s four (and counting) embattled national security advisers. If nothing else, this week’s revelations show Mr. Bolton, even after being unceremoniously fired by his president, is still one of the cagiest political fighters in town.

Jonathan Stevenson is a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and managing editor of Survival. He was the National Security Council director for political-military affairs, Middle East and North Africa, from 2011 to 2013.”