John Bolton’s departure as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor comes after a rising number of rifts in which the arch-hawk was clearly at odds with his boss.
While Trump is accustomed to aides who race to accommodate every sudden policy turn, Bolton came with decades of experience in Washington and had little to lose by leaving his job.
Here are some of the key areas of disagreement:
– Afghanistan –
Trump dropped a bombshell on Saturday by saying that had invited leaders of the Taliban to Camp David, the presidential retreat, to discuss a deal on which the United States would withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan.
Such top-level negotiations would be anathema to Bolton, a strong proponent of deploying military force in both Afghanistan and Iraq under former president George W. Bush and a lifelong critic of concessions to adversaries.
The Washington Post reported that tensions had risen to the point that Zalmay Khalilzad, the US negotiator with the Taliban and another Bush veteran, refused to share his draft deal with Bolton for fear he would scuttle it.
Trump ultimately said he canceled the Taliban meeting, citing an attack that killed a US soldier, and said the talks were dead.
– Iran –
Bolton has long been a vociferous hawk on Iran close to its militant exiled opposition. In 2015, Bolton wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times bluntly headlined, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
Shortly after Bolton took office, Trump walked away from a nuclear deal negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama and slapped punishing sanctions, although Bolton stopped short of saying the United States was seeking regime change.
But Trump has increasingly said that he is open to diplomacy.
Trump appeared supportive of a French proposal to provide Iran an economic credit line and said that he is willing to meet President Hassan Rouhani without preconditions.
– North Korea –
Bolton is also well-known for his hard line on North Korea. Shortly before his appointment, he wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the United States would be justified in waging a pre-emptive strike on the country.
His criticism of the totalitarian state goes far back, with North Korea in 2003 calling him “human scum” after Bolton, than a State Department official, called then leader Kim Jong Il a “tyrannical dictator.”
Bolton nonetheless joined Trump in two landmark summits with Kim in Singapore and then Hanoi, where he urged Trump not to agree to a deal without further commitments by Pyongyang.
By the time Trump arranged an impromptu third summit in June the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, Bolton was spotted a safe distance away in Mongolia.
– Venezuela –
Bolton has championed one of Trump’s biggest foreign policy pushes, seeking to topple Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a leftist who presides over a crumbling economy.
But Bolton made his exit before Maduro, who remains in power and enjoys support of the military more than half a year after the United States and other major Western and Latin American powers declared him illegitimate.
Trump has been speaking less about Venezuela and, according to multiple reports, he chided Bolton in private for overselling the ease with which opposition leader Juan Guaido could take over.
© 2019 AFP
Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady
MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.
"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."
Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.
Watch the video below from MSNBC.
‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case
Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."
She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.
"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."
WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial
President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."
"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."