President Trump’s former Chief of Staff just weighed in against him on the key issue hanging over the Senate’s impeachment trial.
Gen. John Kelly served Trump for years, both as Secretary of Homeland Security and then as White House Chief of Staff. At a Florida event yesterday, Kelly said that he would take former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s word over that of his former boss.
Before departing the role of Chief of Staff last December as its last permanent appointee, Gen. Kelly presided over Trump’s horrifying policy of putting kids in cages at the US border, then walked through the revolving door to earn a handsome profit off the suffering of refugees which is still leaving a dark stain on America’s human rights record. However, that gives Kelly a significant amount of credibility in Trump’s far-right Republican party that most other outside commentators don’t have (or want) when it comes to helping the general public—and especially Fox News viewers—know who to trust. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports:
“‘If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,'” said retired Gen. John Kelly, who served as Trump’s chief of staff for 18 months.”
Specifically, Gen. Kelly endorsed The New York Times’s recent reporting on what’s contained in Bolton’s forthcoming book which says the President pressured Ukraine for dirt on the Bidens.
Trump’s former Chief of Staff also supports having witnesses at Trump’s trial in the Senate, a notable break from the Republican party position of turning the removal decision into a rubber stamp.
Naturally, Donald Trump is trying to hide behind executive privilege but took to Twitter anyway to deny the Times’ reporting on Bolton’s recollection of him asking for dirt from Ukraine before they received the security funds Congress appropriated in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for 2019.
Ironically, the president’s latest disclosures should finally prove fatal to his own defense that John Bolton cannot testify because of executive privilege, which University of Michigan law professor and former US Attorney Barbara McQuade explains waives or cancels the privilege:
“Privilege is meant to keep a president’s secrets confidential. If the president reveals those secrets or publicly discusses the conversations himself, there is no longer any need to protect them from disclosure.”
“But now, the executive privilege argument is no longer available. Trump’s tweets directly denying the substance of Bolton’s reported allegations waive any privilege that might have protected them from public disclosure.”
Donald Trump shocked the world, and many now-former members of his own party, by blowing away the last remaining pockets of moderation to finalize the far-right movement of the GOP and claiming the party’s 2016 presidential nomination and eventually the White House (with Putin’s help). Now, it looks like the far-right members of his own party including its zealously anti-immigrant child abuse profiteer, General Kelly, and the war-mongering regime change fanatic, John Bolton, could be the very people to end his presidency by shockingly revealing that there are some facts that matter, even to the very most extreme members of the Republican Party.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition