Officials in the White House, the State Department and in the Senate close to the Senate-White House fight over Bolton’s nomination to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations report to TWN that they were caught off guard by the Washington Post article by Charles Babington and Dafna Linzer suggesting both that Bolton would accept a recess appointment — and that if the Senate failed to confirm him the President would give Bolton such an appointment.
Most officials on the Democratic side of the equation think that not only Bolton’s confirmation — but his actual nomination — are dead. Republican voices close to this battle think that Bolton’s nomination is withering badly and in critical condition, barely surviving on life support.
It is interesting to note that the administration source cited by Babington and Linzer is reportedly “close to Bolton” and “familiar with Bolton’s thinking.” However, there is no mention of this person’s involvement in White House deliberations or agenda setting.
This may very well be an effort by Bolton advocates to keep the dying flame of the Bolton nomination still flickering.
On a related front, another source has shared with TWN the following in response to a TWN post below regarding Bolton trying to expand the size and capacity of the Washington-based U.S. United Nations operation at State:
From a TWN reader:
5. Bolton’s redefined role as a Washington-based UN Ambassador won’t suit Rice — who is out of the country right now. It is very convenient of Bolton and his advocates to raise this now in her absence.
Whereas Bolton may indeed be floating the fact that he is now ready to accept a recess appointment, I am almost certain that he and his allies did not float this story about expanding the USUN office in Washington.
This leak was clearly made in an attempt to hurt John Bolton — and shows that he has plenty of enemies at Foggy Bottom.
What is important about the Bolton nomination at this point is not the battle between Senators Biden, Dodd, Voinovich, Boxer, and others with the White House. That has played out.
What is interesting now are Bolton’s efforts to keep his nomination alive within the administration.
So far, they seem to be slamming him down — and Karl Rove is not available to offer “expressions of confidence” in Mr. Bolton as he has in the past.
— Steve Clemons