What Now?! – June 18, 2020

The New York Times got an early copy of John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, which President Trump is suing to block.

“While other books by journalists, lower-level former aides and even an anonymous senior official have revealed much about the Trump White House, Mr. Bolton’s volume is the first tell-all memoir by such a high-ranking official who participated in major foreign policy events and has a lifetime of conservative credentials. It is a withering portrait of a president ignorant of even basic facts about the world, susceptible to transparent flattery by authoritarian leaders manipulating him and prone to false statements, foul-mouthed eruptions and snap decisions that aides try to manage or reverse.”

“Mr. Trump did not seem to know, for example, that Britain is a nuclear power and asked if Finland is part of Russia, Mr. Bolton writes. He came closer to withdrawing the United States from NATO than previously known. Even top advisers who position themselves as unswervingly loyal mock him behind his back.”

“President Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 U.S. election, telling Xi during a summit dinner last year that increased agricultural purchases by Beijing from American farmers would aid his electoral prospects, according to a damning new account of life inside the Trump administration by former national security adviser John Bolton,” the Washington Post reports.

Writes Bolton: “He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”

Bolton’s book also portrays Trump as an “erratic” and “stunningly uninformed” commander in chief, and lays out a long series of jarring and troubling encounters between the president, his top advisers and foreign leaders.

“What if we have a real crisis like 9/11 with the way he makes decisions?” — Former White House chief of staff John Kelly, quoted by the Washington Post in John Bolton’s new book, as he considered resigning.

In an excerpt of his book provided to the Wall Street Journal, John Bolton claims President Trump “nodded approvingly” when Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested the United States held “too many elections.”

Writes Bolton: “One highlight came when Xi said he wanted to work with Trump for six more years, and Trump replied that people were saying that the two-term constitutional limit on presidents should be repealed for him. Xi said the U.S. had too many elections, because he didn’t want to switch away from Trump, who nodded approvingly.”

Politico: “With ex-national security adviser John Bolton’s tell-all tentatively set for release next week, White House aides are anxiously waiting to see what, if any, damning information is contained between the covers. In the meantime, they’ve activated the typical Trump team playbook for ex-staffers who decide to spill the administration’s innerworkings in print: lawsuits, character assassination on Twitter and presidential haranguing.”

“On Tuesday night, the Justice Department sued Bolton to delay the publication of his memoirs, claiming the 592-page tome contains classified information, a charge Bolton’s lawyer has denied. It’s a suit that seems unlikely to actually block the book from coming out — early copies have already been distributed, and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, was not named in the suit. But the move escalates the monthslong cat-and-mouse game between Bolton and the White House, with each side accusing the other of not acting in good faith.”

New York Times: “They say his repeated acts of political self-sabotage — a widely denounced photo-op at a church for which peaceful protesters were forcibly removed, a threat to use the American military to quell protests — have significantly damaged his re-election prospects, and yet he appears mostly unable, or unwilling, to curtail them.”

“Mr. Trump doesn’t want to be seen as a ‘loser,’ a label he detests, in the campaign against Joe Biden… But for now, they said, the president is acting trapped and defensive, and his self-destructive behavior has been so out of step for an incumbent in an election year that many advisers wonder if he is truly interested in serving a second term.”

Also interesting: “Mr. Trump has also become consumed, once again, with leaks from the White House, demanding that officials find and prosecute those responsible for information getting out about his trip to the bunker beneath the White House during unruly protests.”

Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas reported record numbers of new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, ABC News reports Vice President Mike Pence “attempted to paint a rosy picture of the pandemic in Oklahoma that contradicted data released by state and local public health departments there.”

President Trump will hold an indoor campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday.

Reuters: “In Tulsa, officials said they were worried the rally would set the stage for potential clashes between Trump supporters and protesters who may try to crash the event to argue the Republican president has failed to address racial injustice or police brutality against African Americans.”

“Officials in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are warning that President Trump’s planned campaign rally on Saturday — his first in over three months — is likely to worsen an already troubling spike in coronavirus infections and could become a disastrous ‘super spreader,’” the Washington Post reports.

“They are pleading with the Trump campaign to cancel the event, slated for a 20,000-person indoor arena — or at least move it outdoors.”

However, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) told Tulsa World he won’t attempt to block the rally.

Bob Woodward’s second book about President Trump’s presidency is scheduled for release on September 15 in the lead-up to the November presidential election, though an Amazon listing still shows no title or book cover have been released.

Sources tell CNN that Woodward has been working on the follow-up to his 2018 bestseller Fear for the last 18 months.

“White House officials are revisiting the idea of renaming U.S. military bases that are named after Confederate generals, a move President Trump had previously rejected,” NBC News reports.

“Conversations among White House officials in recent days about renaming the bases have been spurred by a growing recognition in the West Wing that the names of the bases will eventually be changed — with or without Trump’s backing — given widespread support for the idea and the momentum it has gained in Congress even among lawmakers from the president’s own party.”

“Protesters plan to mark Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the end of slavery, with demonstrations against racism and police brutality planned in cities across the country,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The date has been celebrated since at least the late 1800s, but there is renewed interest in the holiday this year as widespread protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a white officer in Minneapolis last month, have sparked a national conversation over racism and police violence.”

Someone who knows Mary Trump — and has read her forthcoming tell-all book about President Trump — tells Joe Pompeo: “The punch of the book, the real symbolic thrust, is about how Donald is really an outgrowth of this complex empire that Fred Sr. built—a pretty dark, win-at-all-costs environment. If there’s going to be a big takeaway, it’s about that emotional DNA of the family.”

“I’m told Mary has steeled herself for the likely severance of some remaining family ties. Given her uncle’s scorched-earth approach to negative writings about him—he’s currently trying to stop the publication of John Bolton’s upcoming White House memoir—it also seems inevitable that she will incur the wrath of @realDonaldTrump. But my source who knows Mary said she’s prepared for whatever may come.”

Said the source: “She feels very determined. She has a very clear-eyed view of her family and the importance of what she’s witnessed. I think she’s been getting herself ready for this moment for a really long time.”

President Trump was privately briefed on Sunday night about what he could expect from the upcoming book by his niece, Mary Trump, and he’s considering suing her to stop publication, the Daily Beast reports.

“Donald Trump has told people close to him that he’s getting his lawyers to look into the Mary Trump matter, to explore what could be done in the way of legal retribution—or at least a threat—likely in the form of a cease and desist letter. One of the sources with knowledge of the situation said that in the past couple of days, the president appeared irked by news of her book and at one point mentioned that Mary had signed an NDA years ago.”

“Mary Trump signed an NDA following a 2001 settlement after litigation disputing Fred Trump’s estate, according to people familiar with the matter. That NDA states she is not allowed to publish anything regarding the litigation or her relationship with Donald, Maryanne and Robert.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked House committee chairs to enforce mask-wearing in all hearings in a move set to infuriate some Republican members of Congress who have defiantly refused to cover their faces, the Washington Post reports.

Pelosi also authorized the sergeant at arms to refuse entry to anyone who was not wearing a mask.

“The Justice Department is set to propose a rollback of legal protections that online platforms have enjoyed for more than two decades, in an effort to make tech companies more responsible in how they police their content,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The department’s proposed changes, to be unveiled as soon as Wednesday, are designed to spur online platforms to be more aggressive in addressing illicit and harmful conduct on their sites, and to be fairer and more consistent in their decisions to take down content they find objectionable.”

Palm Beach Post: “President Donald Trump’s golf club in West Palm Beach has asked Palm Beach County to defer some of the $88,338 monthly rent it pays to lease public land for the president’s the private golf club, citing hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

President Trump falsely suggested that scientists have developed a vaccine for AIDS, the late stage of HIV infection in which the virus badly damages the immune system, CNBC reports.

Said Trump: “They’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine. As you know, there’s various things, and now various companies are involved.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “What Now?! – June 18, 2020

  1. Would Bolton’s testimony at the impeachment hearings have changed a single vote? Hell No, reality is not the issue for the Republicans, the goal remains money and power. As for Trump Bolton’s book seems to show that the Ukraine was anything but an isolated incident, he constantly sought assistance to gain reelection from foreign dictators, not to mention killing journalists he didn’t like. If we don’t come away from Trump vowing Never Again we have failed as a nation.

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