During an appearance Sunday with CNN's Jake Tapper, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro claimed that John Bolton was going to jail. But don't be so sure about that.
President Donald Trump and his team are saying that the new book from the former national security adviser is "all lies." The Trump team then claimed that the "lies" were classified, which caused many to question both claims. Something can't be "classified" if it's a lie, or it never happened. So, which is it?
It puts Trump in an awkward position. If he admits that the things outlined happened in Bolton's book, and thus must be classified, Trump runs the risk of confirming Bolton's book is true. It's only if Trump's lawyers can prove Bolton's book is real that he could feasibly win a civil lawsuit to give the profits to the U.S. Treasury. It's also the only solution for Trump to get Bolton behind bars if the Justice Department wants to charge him criminally for revealing classified information.
During a CNN appearance, Sunday, New York Times investigative reporter Matthew Rosenberg explained that it has to be one or the other, and neither answer helps Trump's cause.
"You know, [Bolton] went through a peer publication review, a career official at the NSC made changes and edits," said Rosenberg. "After that was done, another review was initiated by a political appointee, which does suggest the administration doesn't want out. Embarrassing to the country is not a justification to classify material. So, I guess we'll find out. We'll know in the next day and a half."
Regardless of the lawsuit, the Trump team tries, it will make the president appear incompetent.
Trump has already bungled the release of the Bolton book by trying to delay its release and moving it closer to the election in November. Initially, the book would have been released in March, at the start of the panic over COVID-19. While it would have gotten attention, it would have likely been dwarfed by the pandemic.
It isn't the first substantial strategic mistake Trump has made over the past few weeks. Trump was infuriated by the CNN poll that showed him losing by 14 points. While the poll would have made news, it was a standout at the time. By threatening litigation to CNN, stories about the poll went on for days, spreading the poll even farther.
The same thing happened with Trump trying to defend himself over the problems he had walking down the ramp at the West Point graduation. While the president was mocked online, it didn't garner much news. Once he tweeted about it, however, it became news because the president acknowledged it. He then has repeatedly talked about the incident claiming the ramp was slippery, despite it being a warm day and there not being any rain.
It's also happening with Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa. The campaign is desperately trying to claim that there were more people than counted. It has forced the Tulsa Fire Marshall to release the actual numbers. The more the campaign tries to explain away the rally as a conspiracy, the more attention they draw to the failure to deliver the 1 million people they claimed signed up for the rally.
See Rosenberg's take below: