The longtime Republican national security hand and Fox News contributor went straight from his cable TV perch to a front-row seat in the White House for the Ukraine imbroglio that would lead to President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
But the former national security adviser’s forthcoming tell-all has added explosive details to the Senate’s impeachment trial in the eleventh hour. And his old pals at Fox News, where he was a paid contributor for 11 years, have quickly disowned him from the pro-Trump family with a broadside of character attacks and critical news coverage.
“I’m not, today, recognizing the guy that I thought I knew,” primetime host and de facto Trump adviser Sean Hannity told viewers in his monologue Tuesday night. “I have a message for John Bolton tonight: You have something to say, John? Come here.”
FoxNews.com added in the headline of its lead story Wednesday morning, drawing directly from Trump’s tweets, “NASTY & UNTRUE BOOK.”
The guy Hannity thought he knew is set to publish a memoir in March with claims that have upended the GOP’s impeachment defense. As The New York Times reported on Sunday, Bolton wrote in an unpublished manuscript that Trump told him to freeze aid to Ukraine until it investigated the Biden family.
Trump defenders have long claimed there was no such quid pro quo. But the Bolton leak has helped a few fence-sitting GOP lawmakers jump off and consider bringing Bolton in to testify.
The Fox News universe wants none of that, and has tried to tar their old coworker’s reputation in the process. In his own monologue on Monday evening, primetime host Tucker Carlson went so far as to compare Bolton to a snake.
“Republicans in Washington might seem shocked to discover that Bolton has turned and betrayed his former boss, Donald Trump, but they shouldn’t be shocked,” Carlson said. “That’s who John Bolton is. That’s who John Bolton has always been. That’s what John Bolton does. And not to brag, but we called it long ago.”