Occasionally, a few crystal-clear opinions on the Senate impeachment trial (and ongoing farce) are glimpsed on Fox News channel. While clarity is being crowded out by the rash of Democrat senators that are now apparently not too bashful to be interviewed, there are still a few nuggets worth watching, albeit fewer and farther between.
One such nugget was an interview of former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu and chief of staff for President George H.W. Bush (Bush 41 in the current vernacular) by Sandra Smith on Tuesday morning’s “America’s Newsroom.” I found his comments to be particularly interesting because not only does he have direct experience in White House policy discussions among key presidential advisers, but he is also the consummate Establishment Republican representing the “Bush wing” of the party, many of whom are either publicly anti-Trump or silent about their politics these days. Here is the Q&A:
Sandra Smith: So, John Bolton’s publishers are adamantly denying that they coordinated with the media on this story, so we have one big question, where did it come from?
Sununu: Well, I’m not sure where it came from, but let me give this a context. There’s absolutely nothing wrong – and certainly no one should be surprised – that there were conversations in the White House about aid to Ukraine, and in those conversations, people talked about how to encourage Ukraine to clean up corruption. And there’s nothing wrong – and no one should be surprised – if in that conversation Burisma came up. What is a problem is that somebody … John Bolton has written a kiss-and-tell book, and when you do that, publishers push you to make the most extreme framing of conversations in the White House. They’ll take the conversation in which someone said, “we should do that (posed as a question)” and convert it into a context where it sounds like “we SHOULD do that” (posed as a recommended directive), and that’s the problem with taking quotes out of a kiss-and-tell book while the President’s still in office.
Smith: I think the statement denying coordination with the media is important. Neither Bolton nor his publishers are disputing the content of the NY Times story.
Sununu: They’re not disputing the words, and that’s the point I tried to make. (A): there’s nothing wrong even as described, and (B) I suspect this has been put in a context to sell books. But, the important point is what Alan Dershowitz said last night. Even if there was in fact quid pro quo, much less only conversations in the White House, that doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment. What makes that important is that Mitt Romney and the other soft Republicans should understand the game that the Democrats are playing. This is not going to change … not matter what John Bolton says, it will not change the fact that what the Democrats are trying to push as impeachable is not an impeachable act.
Smith: Lemme just get this in here because the RNC put out a statement as well …. “Not only does it omit direct quotes from Bolton’s manuscript, it doesn’t cite any main sources … because that’s important because the person you just saw on your screen was Mitt Romney. One of our capitol hill producers just had an off-camera moment with Mitt Romney and asked him, would you be satisfied with seeing John Bolton’s manuscript instead of having witnesses. Mitt Romney responded, “I’d like to hear from Mr. Bolton.” Already he’s indicated that he’d be willing to move in that direction as a Republican joining Democrats calling for witnesses. So what does that tell you, Governor?
Sununu: Well, it’s disappointing because I think Mitt Romney is clearly letting his personal dislike of the President influence him more than trying to deal with what this country needs. We do not a two-month impeachment trial that we know the answer to. And I think Mitt really ought to get it together and understand that he’s not doing the country a service by going that route.
Smith: Yeah, the Wall Street Journal took it on this morning, the John Bolton report. Their advice in their words is for “Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser to tell the public now what he says in his book.”
Sununu: Nothing he can tell them is going to change the fact that it’s not an impeachable act. That’s the important point for Mitt and the other Republicans to understand.
Governor Sununu “gets it” with respect to the Democrats’ impeachment play. I was pleasantly surprised with his clear and concise conclusion that the President committed no impeachable offenses. And he’s put his finger on the problem with Mitt Romney who obviously has an animus against President Trump. This goes back to 2017 when Romney met with the President to interview for the Secretary of State job. Here was the sticking point, as reported by CNN:
Mitt Romney declined to apologize for his past criticism of Donald Trump, costing him a job as secretary of State for the incoming GOP administration
Yet, despite that, Romney had the gall to ask for President Trump’s endorsement in the 2018 election – which was given – and now Romney is showing his true colors with his nuzzling up to Chuck Schumer on the subject of new witnesses. This just proves that having great wealth doesn’t equate to having good character and decency. He’s just a bitter man. The inevitable Trumpenfreude will be sweet to watch.