Order of the Week: Bolton Could Re-Surface on Thursday


Senator Frist isn’t going to co-mingle judges and John Bolton again. This week he is pushing to judicial nominations: Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor.
There is little chance that the “motion to reconsider” the Bolton cloture vote can be considered until Thursday, and probably Thursday afternoon, depending on the post-cloture debate agreements on these two judges.
The good thing for Bolton opponents is that most moderate Republicans and nearly all Democrats will probably feel sleazy after the votes on the two judges and not in the mindset at all to give in to the White House on John Bolton.
Many are now trying to argue (on behalf of the White House) that to delay Bolton will paint those opposing cloture as “obstructionists.”
But the fact is that the White House is the one obstructing the proper mechanics of government by withholding important information on the administration’s Syria policy that Bolton may have been undermining, on NSA intercepts and the redacted identities of U.S. officials mentioned in them, and on the roster of “international clients” maintained by the well-paid, part-time management consultant in Bolton’s office, Matthew C. Freedman.
The White House is spinning the line that some Dems may not hold in a replayed cloture vote — and that is clearly NOT THE CASE from the inquiries of offices made today. There is no fundamental evidence of battle fatigue — and Lieberman’s office has not indicated that it has shifted position.
That aside, choking down two outrageous, ideological zealots as new Bush judicial appointments may be just what it takes to permanently kill the Bolton nomination.
The Dems and moderates may get run over twice this week on judges — but Bolton will be the vote that they say NO to.
On another front, the NSA intercepts revelation on Libya and Asst. Secretary of State William Burns is turning out to be very important. Earlier testimony by various other State Department officials made it clear that Bolton was pushed to the periphery of a number of delicate policy initiatives — one of which was Libya.
Bolton didn’t like it, and Fred Fleitz — his CIA detailee and acting Chief of Staff — helped him spy on his State Department colleagues.
Watch for more on the Syria documentation. What is brewing in this mess is the strong possibility that Bolton committed perjury before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his role in generating the controversial Heritage Foundation speech that is part of this morass.
John Bolton is now working on the 1st floor of the State Department, in transitional space, and is reportedly grumpy about his situation.
More later.
— Steve Clemons