Trump tweeted that he fired Bolton last night; Bolton says that he offered his resignation last night and Trump asked to sleep on it. Fox News host Brian Kilmeade said on the air: "John Bolton just texted me. Just now. He's watching. And he said, 'Let's be clear. I resigned.'"
We never get a straight story from these guys, do we? Not even on the trivial details. Remember the "men in a tiger suit" routine from Monty Python's Meaning of Life? Everything always has to be like that. (See the video embedded above. Classic.)
So what was the main point of friction between Bolton and Trump? Everyone knows that Bolton is a War Guy -- specifically, he wants war with Iran NOW NOW NOW. Trump knows that an Iraq-style mistake is one of the few things he could do that would severely diminish support from all of the Joe SixPacks in his base.
I've long felt that the neocons have been attempting to force Trump into a war, using various covert ops -- like the time the "Iranians" (obviously MEK guys) attacked that tanker. Was Bolton party to these various schemes? Wouldn't be surprised.
As much as I hate to applaud anything that Trump does, I can applaud this move. Sure, getting rid of Bolton will annoy the neocons, but nowadays Trump probably doesn't care if they make annoyed grunting noises. He has solidified his power -- and I'm quite certain that his power is based on kompromat.
A source of mine who is close with Bolton texts to say, "Man, you don't want Bolton on the outside shooting at you." This could get ...interesting.
Maybe. But I'll say it again: Trump's power is based on kompromat. How much freedom to speak will Bolton have? Let's put it another way: How much criticism have we heard from Jim Mattis, Don McGahn, Paul Ryan, and a host of others? McGahn detests Trump, but he won't say one unkind word about the guy in public. The only former Trumpist who seems able to speak his mind is good ol' Mooch, whose teevee appearances I quite enjoy. He should have his own channel. Mooch TV.
For what it is worth, Bill Palmer has a theory that the Bolton/Trump contretemps is really about Mike Pence. Kinda.
Yesterday, CNN reported that Mike Pence and John Bolton had both tried to talk Donald Trump out of hosting the Taliban at Camp David. At the time, Palmer Report pointed out that this leak could only have come from Pence and Bolton, because they didn’t want to take the blame for Trump’s asinine idea. This came even as Trump was insisting on Twitter that he had nothing to do with Pence’s decision to stay at a Trump resort on the taxpayer dime.
Donald Trump was so bothered by yesterday’s leak, he immediately insisted on Twitter that the whole story was false. But he obviously knew it was true. Trump presumably wanted to fire Mike Pence over it, but after his handlers explained to him that he can’t fire Pence in the middle of a presidential term, he decided to fire John Bolton instead.
Y'know, this makes some sense, although I strongly doubt that it happened just like that. Obviously, someone leaked the Taliban story, probably because someone felt incensed by the thought of an American president meeting with Al Qaeda's buddies on American soil on (or near) the date September 11. Maybe that someone was Pence. Maybe it was Bolton. Maybe both.
A word about Afghanistan. Yes, it's long past time for American involvement in the Afghan war to stop. But our exit will insure a Taliban takeover, just as our exit from Vietnam insured a Vietcong takeover. Trump wants to negotiate a face-saving arrangement in which the Taliban get control of the country after they say something along the lines of "We don't like Al Qaeda any more."
That's probably the way things will go down after the election. It's all bullshit, and everyone involved knows it.
Scotland. We've been going through a Scottish phase in this household, although my ladyfriend will never admit that it all started when she got hooked on the Outlander TV series. ("Sing me a song of a lad who is long/Say, could that lad do I?")
Turns out Scotland has been burbling in the background of current events for quite some time. Most of us have not noticed this burbling, but Rayne on the Emptywheel blog has been keeping track. She draws our attention to the University of Stirling, the former employer of the mysteriously-missing Joseph Mifsud, "the Russian agent who told Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia had Hillary Clinton emails."
You probably read reporting on Mifsud’s mid-2017 disappearance. If you haven’t, check out the detailed profile on this archived page and the University of Stirling’s student newspaper online. Read them while you can; our fellow contributor Jim White noted in January 2018 how Mifsud’s profile online was being scrubbed (indeed, the underlying source for the archived site above has an odd habit of going offline erratically).
What puzzles me after reading quite a lot about Mifsud: how did the London Academy of Diplomacy end up at Stirling — who suggested it, set up the curriculum, funded it?
Why does LAD look like a clone of DAL — the Diplomatic Academy of London — but located in Stirling instead of London?
And why Stirling, Scotland, located a mere 17 miles from Gleneagles Hotel, far away from the United Kingdom’s diplomatic action? Its population is around 36,000, it’s located inland away from an ocean port, and it doesn’t even have an airport.
Those are damned good questions. And there was much more Scottish skullduggery afoot...
Why, for instance, did Steve Bannon show up at a “secret” meeting hosted by think tank Scotland International Ltd. (SIL) at Gleneagles in early December 2017? SIL was founded and funded by investment banker Sir Angus Grossart; the think tank hosts a “secret” meeting each year.
Bannon also met with former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and Tory MP Jacob Rees Mogg that same trip — both of whom are staunch Brexit supporters.
Bannon’s appearance at SIL also hasn’t aged well; his host Grossart received the Pushkin medal from Putin in October 2018, which didn’t agree with Scotland and the rest of the UK after the Skripals’ poisoning. Why does Bannon’s circle have so few degrees of separation from Russia and Putin, even in Scotland?
Now, as it happens, one of my ladyfriend's relatives has been dating a Scot. Naturally, we spent some time talking about Brexit -- and about Scottish independence. If Brexit turns out as disastrously as the Alt Rightists want it to turn out...and if Scottish independence is once again on the ballot...
Well. Things could turn out very differently.
Remember when we found out that the groups pushing for Californian independence have strong ties to Russia? Putin is pulling the same "Fracture Thy Enemy" bullshit in the UK. There is even strong talk of Welsh independence.
Malcolm Nance has been doing some interesting work on Trump's Scottish scandal.
Wales voted decisively to leave the EU, just like England. They aren't going anywhere.
As for Scotland, any independence would be disastrous as their economy relies entirely on hand-outs from England and a rapidly dwindling oil export trade. Scotland only united with England in the first place so we would pay off their debts, and it's been likewise ever since.
Trump's mother was from Scotland.
The IRA's Facebook spending before the election has been widely reported to have included anti-Trump messaging. $5,000 was spent on promoting a documentary called "You've Been Trumped Too". This is a sequel to "You've Been Trumped", which chronicles Trump's attempts to build a gold course near Aberdeen, and the election of one of his victims as Scot of the Year.