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John Bolton Says Jan. 6 Too Dumb To Be A Coup, And He Knows From Coups, Jake Tapper!
OK, maybe say that again, under oath.
In a mildly intriguing sideshow to yesterday's January 6 Select Committee hearing, former Trump national security mustache John Bolton casually took credit on national TV for having planned out a few coups d'etat himself, so he knows the January 6 insurrection wasn't much of a coup plot.
Speaking on CNN, which pays the deactivated warhead as if he were a legitimate expert, Bolton told Jake Tapper that January 6 doesn't count, if you're counting coups , because it was such a clumsy, ad hoc affair, motivated by Donald Trump's desperation to hold on to power, as opposed to a well-thought-out plan.
Bolton did at least make clear that nothing his former boss did following the election was legal or defensible, but then insisted that it didn't rise to the level of a real attempt to overthrow the government:
It's also a mistake as some people have said, including on the committee, the commentators, that somehow this was a carefully planned coup d’etat aimed at the Constitution.
That’s not the way Donald Trump does things. It’s rambling from one half-vast idea to another, one plan that falls through and another comes up.
Did you catch John Bolton's very clever "pune," or play on words ? He carefully enunciated "vast" so you would know he was too decorous to say "half-assed" on TV.
Tapper took issue with Bolton's insistence that trying to undo the results of the presidential election was somehow "not an attack on our democracy," what with the whole thing where the goal was to reverse an election and all: "I don't know that I agree with you. [...] One doesn’t have to be brilliant to attempt a coup.”
Bolton, who absolutely considers himself brilliant, seemed offended, if only from a practitioner's perspective:
As somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat – not here but, you know, other places – it takes a lot of work. And that’s not what he did. He was just stumbling around from one idea to another.
Somehow, Bolton seemed to think, Trump's bumbling attempt to hold onto his presidency, which resulted in multiple deaths and was followed by the majority of Republicans in the House voting against certifying the electoral vote, just didn't count as a threat to the Constitution, apparently because it was so unartful.
That said, if you're consulting with the Pentagon to seize voting machines and trying to replace the attorney general with a guy who'll manufacture "vote fraud" and you're pressuring the vice president to unilaterally throw out the election results, how is that not a coup, even if it's a really shitty attempt at it? If it's so obvious that even Chris Cillizza gets it, then it's not a difficult concept.
Point is, they can both be right. Coups don't have to be brilliant to be real (point Jake Tapper), but they probably do need a few working brain cells to be present to actually work (point Bolton).
Of course, we love how Bolton cited himself as a true sandwich artist of coups, given his experience at SubvertWay. Just what coups was he saying he'd planned, exactly? Tapper did at least return to the question, asking about Bolton's "expertise" in planning coups, and by the way, were any of those successful coups?
Bolton played coy, plugging his bugfuck crazy memoir — the one he was too busy compiling instead of testifying at Trump's first impeachment — and said Tapper ought to read the section on the 2019 coup attempt in Venezuela, although "it turned out not to be successful."
And then, more backpedaling:
Not that we had all that much to do with it, but I saw what it took for an opposition to try and overturn an illegally elected president and they failed. The notion that Donald Trump was half as competent as the Venezuelan opposition is laughable.
We're not so sure about that; the Venezuelan coup attempt was kind of a clusterfuck too, described as "mind-bogglingly dumb" by a former Navy SEAL who wasn't involved, but who had spoken to some of the Venezuelans involved. If Bolton really was part of the planning — which he denied to Tapper — he'd have little reason to brag about it.
Tapper — probably too credulously — took Bolton's bait (ew) and said, "I feel like there's other stuff you're not telling me," leading Bolton to agree, "I'm sure there is," because he's an international man of mystery.
We're more inclined to believe John Bolton wasn't so much "admitting" his involvement in plotting real world coups as just trying to buff up his image as a Very Serious Player in world events, the way Roger Stone would really like everyone to believe he's a master of the dark political arts . It's all image, and probably not a hell of a lot of substance. Yes, he had policy jobs in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, but his real skill has always been self-promotion as the biggest hawk around, responding to the Arab Spring by suggesting the US should bomb Iran, and, both before and after Trump chose him as national security advisor, advocating for regime change in Iran. Kind of a theme with him.
So sure, John Bolton has planned a lot of coups. Like maybe 20 against Iran. It's like when I was in high school I planned to meet Carrie Fisher and she'd fall madly for me, possibly after asking "Aren't you a little pimply for a Stormtrooper?" Where's my guest spot on CNN?
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