Trump pushes back against Bolton report with more bogus claims

Trying to defend himself from accusations of dishonesty, Trump is peddling more dishonesty. It'd be to his benefit to enjoy a little quiet time.
Image: FILES-US-POLITICS-IMPEACHMENT-BOLTON
In this file photo taken on May 9, 2018, US President Donald Trump speaks alongside National Security Adviser John Bolton (L) during a Cabinet Meeting in the White House.SAUL LOEB / AFP - Getty Images
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By Steve Benen

Donald Trump helped get his day started the usual way: with an odd tweet. With the political world jolted by a report on former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton's book, which appears to directly contradict the president's impeachment defense, Trump published an item that read in part, "The Democrat controlled House never even asked John Bolton to testify."

That's the opposite of the truth. As those who followed the impeachment proceedings in the House already know -- and as the president really ought to understand -- the chamber sought Bolton's testimony, but it was Trump who refused to allow his former aide to answer lawmakers' questions.

In other words, confronted with a report about evidence that his impeachment defense is a lie, the president thought it'd be a good idea to publish a rather obvious lie.

Alas, it wasn't the only one. Shortly after midnight this morning, Trump had some similarly mendacious missives.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that he "NEVER" told former national security adviser John Bolton that the hold on nearly $400 million in military aid was tied to investigations of Democrats after it was reported Bolton insisted as much in an upcoming book.

"I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens," Trump wrote. "In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book."

Obviously, the point of publishing tweets like these is to push back against the New York Times' reporting on Bolton's upcoming book. The president's impeachment defense rests in large part on a simple assertion -- Trump didn't connect military aid to a demand for political investigations -- and the former White House national security advisor appears ready to expose the defense as a lie.

But Trump isn't doing himself any favors with his tweets: trying to defend himself from accusations of dishonesty, the president is peddling more dishonesty.

For example, as part of his overnight Twitter thread, Trump insisted he "released the military aid to Ukraine ... far ahead of schedule."

Except, that's not even close to being true. As we discussed last week, the Trump administration's schedule was to provide the aid in June. Because the president withheld the aid as part of his illegal extortion scheme, the money wasn't spent until September -- and even then, it was because Congress pressed the White House to follow through.

"Late" and "far ahead of schedule" are not synonyms.

We're left with a dynamic in which Trump, already struggling with a credibility crisis, is effectively asking the public to trust his word, while simultaneously peddling easily discredited falsehoods.

The president has the option of simply enjoying a little quiet time, but he just can't seem to help himself.

MORE: Today's Maddowblog