Bolton warns Garland that Trump’s on solid political footing: ‘About to witness slaughter of the lambs’

Pundits can only speculate as to whether or not the Attorney General Merrick Garland approved FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home stood on firm legal backing. However, on matters of politics, the conclusion appeared clear, and former national security adviser John Bolton said we’re “about to witness the slaughter of the lambs.”

(Video: CNN)

Tuesday, he joined CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” to discuss the Justice Department’s opposition to releasing the affidavit to show their justification for the search and seizure of documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida residence. As previously reported, the president had called for the release of the “completely unredacted” affidavit in the “interest of transparency,” but the DOJ contended it would harm the investigation.

“You’ve worked on sort of both sides of this,” Berman posed to his guest, “inside the Department of Justice and also inside the security world. How do you read this filing?”

“Well, I think it says there are very significant problems here for President Trump and many of his advisers, post-presidency,” Bolton, who has remained highly critical of Trump, first argued in support of the DOJ’s right to conduct the raid. “But I think we’ve got to distinguish between the legal battle that’s going on and the political battle. I think the Justice Department position sounds perfectly reasonable on the legal battle.”

“But on the, on the political battle, I think they’re being overwhelmed by Donald Trump,” the adviser asserted. “You know, if we were in a Colosseum with two gladiators, one of them Donald Trump, the other Merrick Garland, we’d be about to witness the slaughter of the lambs.”

Between working to make public the search warrant. calling for civility and cooperation, slamming the Justice Department for failing to do the same, Trump has remained ahead of the narrative and seemingly managed to force the government’s hand on several occasions since the Aug. 8 raid. On Monday, he positioned himself as a mediator of conflict as he offered to do “whatever I can to help the country” in an effort to help the “temperature…be brought down.”

“The Justice Department understandably wants to follow its normal procedures. It’s facing an adversary who couldn’t care less about the normal procedures,” Bolton continued of Trump’s no-nonsense approach to streamlining accountability. “And I do think the department’s got to do more here. I know it’s hard, but they’re still not doing enough to explain why this search warrant was executed and why, why now they don’t want to release the affidavit.”

“Last night, for example, when they filed their motion, they should have put somebody on camera at the Department of Justice reading from it. They should have tweeted it. They should have sent it to every member of Congress. I’m not asking them to say more than what they’ve said in their court filing,” he argued, “but they’ve got to do more to explain what they’re up to. And they’ve got to think of creative ways to justify it to a very skeptical public, in many respects.”

The lack of transparency and the ever-changing story surrounding the raid has only increased scrutiny of federal institutions already suffering from deteriorating public faith. This led Berman to ask, “So you’re saying better PR, but you’re, are you saying that they should release the affidavit, parts of the affidavit, or let members of Congress see some of the classified material? What’s your view on that?”

“Look, the argument is that you can’t even release a redacted version of the affidavit because most of it would be redacted,” Bolton said, backing the claim the DOJ made in their Monday court filing. “I’m not surprised by that.”

“I can’t, I don’t know what the documents are,” he further argued, despite his certainty the FBI was in the right to collect them. “I don’t know what sensitive sources they’ve spoken to. I’m just saying that you’ve got to be more realistic about the political environment that they’re operating under. And I would say this, I think this is something, if President Biden thinks this is a legitimate investigation, he needs to say something. Other politicians need to weigh in. Otherwise, to pick a Watergate metaphor, right now, the Department of Justice is twisting slowly, slowly in the wind. It is a target for Donald Trump and it’s not being defended.”

The former national security adviser then switched gears to another speculative subject as he touched on the news from Monday that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was a target of the Fulton County, Georgia grand jury investigation into alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state. The sister sham trial to the Jan. 6 committee will be hosting hizzoner on Wednesday for questioning.

“President Trump might be right behind him in terms of liability,” Bolton stated. “If Rudy’s in trouble as the target of an investigation, then I think Trump almost certainly is as well.”

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