Impeachment, Bolton, the New So-Called Peace Plan

The question-and-answer portion of the trial is underway. From what I can tell, this is just an exercise in repeating points, or lies, as the case may be.

Late yesterday there was news that Mitch McConnell let it be known he doesn’t have the votes to block witnessess. It’s useful to hear what Lawrence O’Donnell has to say about this.

If you say last night’s show, you might remember O’Donnell also reminding us that McConnell is up for re-election, and McConnell wants to avoid the wrath of Trump at all cost.

The White House issued a formal threat to Bolton to stop the publication of his book.

The White House has issued a formal threat to former national security adviser John Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

In a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, a top official at the National Security Council wrote the unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s book “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information” and couldn’t be published as written.

The letter, which is dated January 23, said some of the information was classified at the “top secret” level, meaning it “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security.”

“The manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information,” the letter read.

Can the White House stop publication of the book? The story as I understand it: Bolton gave a copy of the manuscript to the National Security Council on December 30. He asked the NSC to review the manuscript for security issues, and gave them 30 days to do so. Bolton’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, has announced a March 17 publication date, which means printing has to begin some time in February.

Bolton is a warmongering jerk, but he’s not stupid. I’m sure he has a pretty fair idea of what’s classified and what’s not, and he wouldn’t have written a book that wasn’t publishable. This is a bare-assed attempt at censorship.

What will Simon & Schuster do? S&S is owned by Viacom (now ViacomCBS), a really, really big multinational corporation. This means they have a big, robust legal department, and I doubt they are going to accept censorship meekly, especially when big money is at stake. The book is already the #1 best seller in Amazon’s political science category.

In other news, Today the White House announced a new Middle East Peace Plan brokered by Wonder Boy Jared Kushner. Trump called it “the deal of the century.” Even so, the plan was instantly met with derision, and the United Nations wasted no time in rejecting it. Juan Cole called it a “crime against humanity.”

See also Fred Kaplan, Trump’s Plan for the Middle East Has Nothing to Do With Peace.

First, the fact that the Palestinians played no role in negotiating or vetting the document means, by itself, that this is an imposition—something like the surrender terms handed down by a victorious army—rather than an accord reached by two parties.

Second, it declares the existence of a Palestinian state with a capital on the outskirts of east Jerusalem and the prospect of a U.S. Embassy—but it also prohibits this state from forming an army, meaning it is not really a sovereign state after all.

Third, it freezes the expansion of Israeli settlements for the next four years—but it sanctifies all the settlements erected to date, allows more houses to be built on land already held, and annexes most occupied land, including all the holy sites in all of Jerusalem, to become officially part of Israel. …

…Finally, it hands this Palestinian not-quite-state $28 billion for economic development—but only if it takes the deal. Yet without real control over the state and a formal surrender of territory, without reciprocation, no Palestinian leader could take this deal and stay in power.

Original photo by Evan Guest,