John Bolton: James Comey Should Dare Obama to Fire Him

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, covered a range of national security topics during his Breitbart News Daily appearance on Thursday, including his call for the director of national intelligence to withhold all classified briefings from Hillary Clinton until the FBI investigation is resolved.

“Actually, I’m just signing on to what House Speaker Paul Ryan has said,” Bolton pointed out. “I think the utter lack of judgment that she displayed, she and her aides, through this entire home server mechanism, it’s just obviously an effort to avoid scrutiny of her documents under the Federal Records Act. It could well be it was part of their effort to conceal the activities of the Clinton Foundation during her time as secretary of state.”

“All of this is the kind of thing – if you were a sergeant in the Army, and at your level of society you had tried to do something equivalent, you’d be court-martialed. You’d be stripped of your rank. You’d probably be given a dishonorable discharge. You’d be lucky to escape jail. She’s about to be elected president,” he said.

“This is a way, I think, to try and dramatize just how serious the effect on our national security potentially has been, through her conduct as secretary of state and her utter disdain for the necessary procedures to safeguard classified information,” said Bolton.

Regarding current media coverage of the Clinton-FBI-DOJ situation, he duly noted that “we don’t know for sure that some of these leaks are accurate or exactly what the state of play is.”

However, he thought it was “very clear that there was another fundamental mistake by FBI Director Comey, in the way he apparently kept entirely separate the national security investigation about the email server and Hillary and her staff’s use of non-governmental channels, on the one hand, and the other investigation into the potential corrupt activities of the Clinton Foundation on the other.”

“You know, Andy McCarthy and others have written that the two are really linked inextricably, that one of the principal reasons that one might understand why Hillary created this elaborate non-governmental communications system was to do Clinton Foundation business, without it getting into the State Department’s electronic storage system,” Bolton said. “So the notion that these two investigations were proceeding separately, I find hard to believe – separately in the FBI, separately in the oversight of the Justice Department. I understand why, at Justice, the political appointees might want to keep them separate to obstruct the investigation, but I don’t understand the activities of the FBI.”

Bolton thought “the most remarkable development in the past 24 hours” was the spectacle of “yesterday, the President himself attack[ed] his own FBI director.”

“This is really phenomenal, and I think shows that the political impact of these revelations is much greater than the Clinton campaign lets on,” he said.

“So my idea, my suggestion to Comey would be this – and I think this is the one and only way Jim Comey can redeem himself in history. I think he’s got to go to Obama, and maybe do it in the form of a public letter, in saying, ‘You have questioned my judgment, my integrity, my competence to do this job. If you no longer have trust and confidence in my ability, then fire me. And if you’re not willing to do that, then let me conduct this investigation without interference from people that are trying to tilt it in Hillary’s direction,’” Bolton advised.

“I think he’s gotta have a direct confrontation. People have started comparing the whole Clinton scandal to Watergate. The one thing we’re missing is the Saturday Night Massacre. I think Comey should step up – it would be an act of courage – and say to the President, ‘Put it on the line, Mr. President. If you don’t have confidence in me, fire me. And if you do have confidence in me, get out of the way,’” he reiterated.

Bolton spoke at length about his recent Wall Street Journal editorial on “cracks in the International Criminal Court.”  

“I think the International Criminal Court is a fundamentally flawed institution,” said Bolton. “It puts enormous power – not just the court, but the prosecutor that the treaty creates – in the hands of completely unaccountable people. I mean, we really fought a revolution to try and get government made more accountable, and we’ve seen in this country the abuses that can happen even under our Constitution.”

“The risk with the International Criminal Court is that we will be the principal target of it,” he warned. “People say, ‘Oh, but it’s like the Nuremberg Tribunal; you need to go after human rights abusers.’ That may be, and there may be special instances where you create such an international court, but we are a democratic society. We operate under a Constitution. We don’t need anybody second-guessing us. We can make our own mistakes. If our troops, for example, contrary to their training and doctrine, commit a war crime, we will try our troops through democratically accountable prosecutors and systems.”

“So I think that the International Criminal Court, or ICC as it’s called, is part of a religious faith of the Left internationally, in the U.S. and Europe particularly, that they don’t like the nation-state. They especially don’t like the United States. They want to put more authority into international institutions. I think it’s a huge mistake,” Bolton said.

Marlow highlighted a favorite passage from Bolton’s Wall Street Journal piece:

Given the European Union’s deepening travails, Europe hardly has the time, will or resources to dabble much in neocolonialism. Yet it is also true that the ICC has been the Western human-rights community’s dearest project, pursued with near-religious devotion in much of Europe and the U.S., and much less enthusiastically elsewhere.

“There’s no doubt that a lot of regimes around the world are not democratically accountable,” Bolton elaborated on Breitbart News Daily. “They are precisely the ones who are not at all deterred or intimidated by the International Criminal Court. They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do because they think they can get away with it anyway. And so, ironically, it’s really the Left in Europe and the United States whose idea of super-national government taking decisions out of the hands of nation-states, and putting them in a higher authority – which, just coincidentally, happens to be them!”

“It’s really an amazing coincidence, and it goes with the idea that judges ultimately tell us that the Constitution in our country evolves over time, and that what we thought we had agreed to, when we agreed to it, actually only means what five justices on the Supreme Court at any given moment happen to think it means,” Bolton continued. “This is part of a much larger issue. To me, the ICC is kind of the premiere example of this theology. It really is a secular theology, to take government farther and farther away from the people.”

“So here you have a prosecutor – you know, the one thing you can say about the attorney general of the United States is that he is accountable to the president. The president is accountable to the people. If the president acts in an unaccountable fashion, you impeach the president. These are the kinds of Constitutional mechanisms we have set up. But the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court isn’t responsible to anybody,” Bolton argued.

“Its advocates say, well, the Court itself supervises the prosecutor. We rejected that as part of our doctrine of separation of powers. And they say, well, but the nation-states, the members of the Court, supervise the prosecutor. You know, there are 120-plus members of the ICC, and anybody who’s supervised by 120 countries isn’t supervised by anybody,” he observed.

“Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, said that she very much regretted that we had unsigned the Rome statutes, the treaty creating the ICC, during the Bush administration,” Bolton recalled. “I actually had the honor and privilege of signing the letter to the U.N. Secretary-General myself, saying, ‘Take our name off this document,’ which I’ve always thought was the happiest day of all of my various government jobs. She would want to re-sign the treaty, and if she gets control of the Senate in next week’s election, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if she tries to ram it through.”

“I actually think she will be more of that kind of trans-nationalist than Obama was,” Bolton anticipated. “Obama’s just so disinterested in international affairs, even though I’m sure he completely agrees with the ICC. He just never had the energy to pursue it. I think Hillary will.”

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