In the hours after National Security Advisor John Bolton was fired by President Donald Trump on September 10th, he immediately began calling longtime political operatives in Washington, DC, sources tell The Chronicle. Many of those calls were made to Democrats and many of them in the national security establishment.
One of those contacts was the intelligence agency whistleblower who filed the now-famous complaint pertaining to the President’s call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, that is now the subject of intense congressional scrutiny. That complaint was filed only weeks before, on August 12th. The source alleges that the whistleblower was given the information that comprises the contents of his complaint from Bolton himself, which if true would constitute an extraordinary breach of national security and an indictable offense punishable by imprisonment.
“It’s go time,” he began those conversations, multiple sources tell The Chronicle, as if to suggest that Bolton’s patience with the President had worn thin, and even implying later in more than one conversation that a faction of neo-conservatives at the Central Intelligence Agency was ready to remove the President from office.
It is unclear whether the FBI is currently investigating the source of the whistleblower’s knowledge of the classified phone call, which is not detailed in the complaint filed with the inspector general.
Bolton was among several alarmed administration officials who urged President Trump to release the nearly $400 million in funds that were temporarily delayed to Ukraine this summer. State Department and Department of Defense officials received word of Trump’s decision to withhold the aid on July 18. Those monies were withheld one week before his July 25 call to President Zelensky, a 41-year-old actor who was unexpectedly thrust to power in a sweeping election victory.
The Trump administration has said that those funds were delayed over concerns about endemic corruption inside the country, including the alleged bribery of former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son received a $50,000 per month position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Biden threatened to withhold money from Ukraine during the Obama administration unless Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating his son’s role at the gas company, was fired.
Shokin was terminated hours after Biden made that threat to Ukrainian officials.
The intelligence community’s inspector general Michael Atkinson has indicated that the whistleblower was found to have a political bias in favor of Biden’s presidential campaign. The attorney who represents the whistleblower contributed to Biden’s campaign and formerly worked for Senator Charles Schumer, the Democrat leader in the Senate.
While on the phone with one former government official who currently works on K Street, Bolton admitted that he was furious with the President, whom he lambasted with obscenities for more than five minutes. The President would learn his lesson, he told the lobbyist, who chalked it up to a disgruntled employee venting over his unexpected termination.
But now, he fears that Bolton is organizing a coup d’etat to oust President Trump from office. He cites Bolton’s contacts with journalists at major media outlets — particularly The Washington Post under the ownership of Jeff Bezos — to whom Bolton is widely thought to have leaked information from inside of the Trump administration through the duration of his tenure.
Bolton has aggressively pushed for a military strike against Iran, putting him at odds with the President, who opposes unnecessary large-scale military interventions. In the days prior to his termination, he was engaged in a heated battled inside the White House over the administration’s response to Iran’s attack on Saudi oil infrastructure earlier this month.