Nicolle Wallace seemed to pick up where Stephen Colbert left off Thursday afternoon when former national security adviser John Bolton stopped by his MSNBC show to find his new book. The room where it happened.
The host began by questioning Bolton in the phone call he says he made to Attorney General William Barr, warning him that President Trump was trying to trade foreign aid for political favors.
“I guess I wonder what you thought would happen,” Wallace said, noting that Barr “put his finger on the scale and distorted [Robert] Mueller’s findings. She asked, “Was it your hope or your intention that possible criminality and corruption be investigated? Or did you just want it on your plate, like a hot potato?
In response, Bolton called Barr a “man of integrity,” and explained that “he believed he would do his job.”
Bolton’s false assumptions about the people he worked with in the White House were a theme throughout the interview, and especially applied to the president himself. Wallace was particularly alarmed by Bolton’s “heartbreaking” description of Trump’s two-hour one-on-one meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin without any assistants present or notes taken.
“Well it was two very long hours, I can tell you that,” Bolton said, trying to make a joke. Wallace was not having it.
“I have to say, in the end, after having listened to what the president himself said, what we heard from our interpreter in the room, and what was discussed at the subsequent working lunch between the two leaders who attended several of us. I don’t, I don’t think anything happened in that one-on-one meeting that compromised American national security, “Bolton said.
At this point, a clearly stupefied Wallace interrupted to ask: “Don’t you think? I mean, you were the national security adviser. Don’t you think nothing happened? Noting that Trump walked out of that meeting and “threw the entire intelligence community under the bus,” he repeated, “so you don’t think anything endangers national security.”
“Well that’s a different story,” Bolton said in response. He went on to admit that “it would be better if we had a clearer idea of what the president’s goals were.” I’m not sure he had goals in the conversation. ”
Towards the end of the interview, Wallace directly brought up Colbert’s controversial interview with Bolton.
“Do you regret having entered?” she asked about Bolton’s time in administration. “I saw you, I think, in Stephen Colbert talking about how you thought you might be different. And you are very hard on the people who preceded you. Did you think you would be different? Did you think that the Trump White House would be different from what you found?
After tossing former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis under the bus once again, Bolton finally addressed his own shortcomings. “All of us who came in and thought we could make a contribution, it was a personal decision,” he said. “I hope to present in the book some of the mistakes I made. Maybe I did more than my share. But I do not hesitate to enter. It is an honor to serve the country. We are all mortal. You have to do your best. And with this president, it was impossible to do better. ”
Wallace attempted to end the interview by asking Bolton how he would feel if he woke up the morning after Election Day 2020 and Trump won. But apparently his connection was lost, so he never had to respond.