When President Trump declared in September that he had fired John Bolton as national security adviser, despite the latter’s claim that he had quit, you just knew that was not the last we would hear from Bolton. The pugnacious hawk had clashed with Trump on Russia, North Korea, an invitation to Camp David to the Taliban (seems like a year ago that one happened) and more. Bolton’s rush to the media to tell his side of the story after his resignation also signaled that he would not go quietly.

As the leaks over the Ukraine scandal multiplied, several of the news accounts citing former officials contained exonerating statements to the effect that Bolton objected to Rudolph W. Giuliani’s machinations and opposed halting aid to Ukraine. That was a telltale sign that Bolton, an adept government infighter with strong media ties, was likely behind some of the revelations.

Fast forward to Monday’s testimony before House lawmakers from Fiona Hill, formerly the National Security Council’s top Russia expert who reported to Bolton. The Post reports:

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In a closed-door session that lasted roughly 10 hours, Hill told lawmakers that she confronted Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about Giuliani’s activities which, she testified, were not coordinated with the officials responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy, these people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to disclose details of her deposition.

In what surely will be long-remembered phrases, she reportedly testified that Bolton had called Giuliani a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up” and had declared “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and [acting chief of staff Mick] Mulvaney are cooking up.” Aside from adding some colorful commentary to the Giuliani-Trump skullduggery, Bolton’s reported statements confirm that pressure on Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden was not part of official U.S. policy (i.e. was a personal/partisan matter Trump delegated to his fix-it guy) and that Bolton recognized it was inappropriate, if not illegal.

Bolton very likely will be called to testify. As other witnesses have done, he might be able to substantiate that the decision to hold up aid (was this the “drug deal” to which he reportedly referred?), once again, contradicted U.S. policy that sought to encourage anti-corruption measures, and not to encourage the current government to manufacture dirt on Trump’s political opponent nor to cooperate in Trump’s delusional conspiracy theory that Russia had not really interfered in the 2016 election.

Bolton also might be able to testify, as Hill apparently did, to a critical meeting. The Post recounts:

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Bolton and Sondland met in early July with then-special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, Hill and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. During the meeting, Sondland’s agenda for Ukraine began to become clear, when he blurted out to the other officials present that there were “investigations that were dropped that need to be started up again,” according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter. The officials understood him to be referring to Burisma, the energy company, and Biden — something that made Bolton go “ballistic” after the meeting, the official said.

The willingness of former Trump aides (Kurt Volker, Bolton, Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s former senior aide Michael McKinley) to testify to key events over the objections of bogus White House claims of executive privilege allow the impeachment investigators to begin piecing together a consistent, well-documented account of Trump’s efforts to go around government officials to act in ways contrary to U.S. interests (e.g., holding up aid that Ukraine needed to protect itself from Russia) to serve his own political ends. Once a couple of aides came forward to testify, others have felt emboldened to speak out as well.

Now, let’s not treat Bolton as a hero. He did not direct Hill (nor go himself) to the FBI to report on Giuliani’s conduct. He did not leave his post until weeks later. He has not publicly accused Trump of wrongdoing nor attested to his temperamental and intellectual unfitness. However, all of that may yet happen.

Bolton has the rare opportunity to settle personal scores with Trump, Giuliani and the White House partisans; clear himself of legal wrongdoing; and save the country from a president who is the pawn of sweet-talking dictators who can appeal to Trump’s overweening vanity. A chance like that doesn’t come around more than once in a career.

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