Chuck Todd Offers John Bolton ‘Full Hour’ of Meet the Press

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While discussing the possibility of former National Security Advisor John Bolton testifying in the Senate impeachment trial, during MSNBC’s special coverage Wednesday morning, anchor Chuck Todd eagerly offered the ex Trump aide the “full hour” of Sunday’s Meet the Press to air accusations against the President.

The exchange actually began with fellow MSNBC anchor Ari Melber criticizing Bolton’s motivation for not sharing his account of what happened with Ukraine earlier in order to sell a book: “John Bolton has determined this stuff – he doesn’t think this is classified, he doesn’t think it endangers national security, he is holding it back to monetize it.”

 

 

Melber continued:

And I do think people around the country, across the ideological spectrum, are sick and tired of people in Washington saying, “I have a story and if I can make commas on it, if I can make millions of dollars on it, I’m going to hold it back.” He could speak right now...

Todd replied: “You’re not wrong.... I buy the idea he is sensitive to the criticism that it looks like he was holding back...”

Melber then urged: “And I hate to name check a groundbreaking Sunday television show here on the weekdays, but Mr. Bolton can go on Meet the Press, the best Sunday show, or any other show....He could go on Meet the Press and talk to you about it and still have a big, lucrative book tour.”

Desperate for the exclusive interview with someone he thought could damage Trump, Todd offered: “By the way, full hour. I would have to take a couple of commercial breaks, but he can have the full hour.” Melber happily reiterated: “Full hour, there you go.”

After journalist Shawna Thomas observed that Bolton had “a rolodex” of reporters he could call at any time, Todd noted: “Except I think he is sensitive that it’s not a good idea to do this the first time through the press....that that’s not the best avenue.” Thomas then pointed out: “Except the manuscript got to the press.”

Todd declared: “It did. But I think he is thinking about all of these things we have all said and is sensitive, because he wants to be seen as credible.”

Apparently even Todd admits that Bolton sitting down for a “full hour” on Meet the Press would damage his credibility.

Here is a transcript of the January 29 panel discussion:

9:15 AM ET

(...)

ARI MELBER: The Republicans have no credibility to attack someone who has been such a conservative Republican leader for so long in so many administrations. So, I agree with you.

PEGGY NOONAN: Yeah, yeah.

MELBER: But they are also, along the way, saying a true thing in addition, which I wonder how Americans will hear it. Because John Bolton has determined this stuff – he doesn’t think this is classified, he doesn’t think it endangers national security, he is holding it back to monetize it. And I do think people around the country, across the ideological spectrum, are sick and tired of people in Washington saying, “I have a story and if I can make commas on it, if I can make millions of dollars on it, I’m going to hold it back.”

CHUCK TODD: You’re not wrong.

MELBER: He could speak right now, Jeh Johnson.

NOONAN: I’ve got to tell you, totally fair point, totally fair point.

JEH JOHNSON: I think he realizes he can’t hold it back, which is why he’s putting out, “I’ll testify if I’m subpoenaed.”

TODD: I buy the idea he is sensitive to the criticism that it looks like he was holding back and – I think he’s sensitive to this, which is why he supposedly put himself out there and said, “Please subpoena me.”

MELBER: And I hate to name check a groundbreaking Sunday television show here on the weekdays, but Mr. Bolton can go on Meet the Press...

TODD: Yes, he can. He’s welcome.

MELBER: ...the best Sunday show, or any other show, not to make it only about our channel. He could go on Meet the Press and talk to you about it and still have a big, lucrative book tour.

TODD: By the way, full hour. I would have to take a couple of commercial breaks, but he can have the full hour.

MELBER: Full hour, there you go.

NOONAN: Wow.

SHAWNA THOMAS [QUIBI, NEWS EXECUTIVE]: And he has – to use an old term – a rolodex, this is something we have seen with John Bolton since he left the White House, is that he can call Peter baker of The New York Times, everyone has his phone number. And he is fine with talking and putting out his point of view.

TODD: Except I think he is sensitive that it’s not a good idea to do this the first time through the press.

THOMAS: Yes.

TODD: That if you want to be, in some ways, that that’s not the best avenue. He – I he is –

THOMAS: Except the manuscript got to the press.

TODD: It did. But I think he is thinking about all of these things we have all said and is sensitive, because he wants to be seen as credible.

JOHNSON: He could be testifying.

MELBER: But if the other lanes, if the government lanes close, we know in American life, and it’s a good thing for the First Amendment, the press is still an option. And he is not exercising it yet.

TODD: Absolutely, it absolutely is. That’s why we’re in the First Amendment, last time I checked.

(...)

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