The report leads off with a quote of the Trump response to Vladimir Putin announcing that he will not be retaliating in kind to the expulsion by Hussein Obama of 35 Russian diplomats from the United States. Bolton recognizes that there might be more to the Russian actions than what there might appear to be at first glance.
Bolton says, “Look, this has all the earmarks of a ploy. I mean the way this was set up, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is reported publicly to have proposed to Putin that Russia expel 35 American diplomats. So they report the recommendation of the Foreign Minister and then Vladimir Putin says, ‘No, no, we won’t do that.'”
“What a sweetheart, really,” says Bolton with more than a hint of sarcasm. “And then it’s reported in the Russian press that they have invited the children of families of American diplomats in Moscow to the Christmas party, it’s Eastern Orthodox Christmas obviously, invited the children to a Christmas party, I mean this guy has got a heart of gold, right?”
Bolton says, “This could be entirely intended for the effect they want to create which is Vladimir Putin is a man you can do business with.” Asked how he responds to Donald Trump’s tweet that Putin is very smart, Bolton agrees, “He is smart, that’s what worries me.”
The host points out that Obama has been accused all along of playing checkers when he needs to be playing chess and asks with Putin perhaps thinking of things on a different level and with a different nuance if Trump is up to the challenge, “Can he play this diplomacy ‘game’ with Putin at his speed?” Bolton answers with a quick “sure,” adding, “but it’s more than just diplomacy. This is the combination of politics and espionage and military that are all part of a spectrum, they’re not separate things.”
So if the evidence that people have talked about referring to Russian efforts to meddle in our election, unsuccessfully to be sure, thank goodness, but nonetheless a direct attack on the integrity and trust and confidence people have in our constitutional process. If that turns out to be right and the President-elect will meet with intelligence people next week, then I think we’ve got a serious problem.
He goes on to describe how Obama’s characteristic mishandling of the current situation leads to more complicated resolution prospects in that eventuality.
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