John Bolton took some friendly fire over Trump's refusal to stand up to Putin.
Trump ordered a desperate stunt briefing this week, featuring national security adviser John Bolton and other top officials, to try to quell criticism of his response to Russian election crimes.
But even Fox News wasn't fooled.
On this week's edition of "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace pressed Bolton on Russian election meddling for a solid five minutes.
In particular, Wallace hammered Bolton on the disconnect between the urgency expressed at that press briefing on Russian election interference, and Trump's continued insistence that the entire U.S. investigation into Russian meddling is a "hoax."
When Bolton tried to blame the press for how it characterized Trump's views, Wallace cut him off.
"You have the secretary of Homeland Security with her hair on fire saying our democracy is in the crosshairs," Wallace said. "And then you have [Trump] saying we're being hindered by the Russia hoax. That's not the press making that up, that's — anybody who looks at it has got to see a difference there."
Bolton tried to cover for Trump by saying that the "hoax" in question referred only to the Trump campaign's role in the Russia investigation.
"The hoax is that the idea that the Trump campaign was the beneficiary of a concerted effort, together with Russians, to affect the 2016 election," Bolton said.
He claimed that there is "no evidence" Trump benefited from Russia's help, even though Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was recently forced to admit that Russia's intent was to help Trump win.
But Wallace cut Bolton off again to point out that the Russia investigation isn't just about the Trump campaign — Mueller has also indicted a dozen Russian intelligence officers for election-related crimes.
And then Wallace called on Trump to stand up for our democracy.
"One of the most powerful ways that President Trump can try to prevent any meddling in the 2018 election is to stand up in public, and call out Vladimir Putin and say knock it off," Wallace said, referring to the press conference at which Trump said he believed Putin over his own director of national intelligence.
"Why not stand there right alongside Putin, with the whole world watching, and say 'We are not going to stand for any more meddling'?" Wallace asked.
Bolton repeated Trump's lie that he "misspoke" at that press conference, and insisted that Thursday's show of a security briefing demonstrated Trump really does about Russian meddling.
But Wallace pointed out that even at a rally Saturday night, Trump equivocated about Russian meddling.
Wallace said that Trump claimed "there were a lot of people involved, there was Russia there was China, there was North Korea — no there wasn't, there was Russia that was interfering."
The fact is that whether Trump likes it or not, everyone in our intelligence community agrees that Russia committed crimes during the 2016 presidential election, and that the objective of those crimes was to help Trump's campaign.
Calling the Russia investigation a "hoax" is not going to change those facts — and neither will holding a briefing to pretend Trump cares.
When Fox News isn't fooled, nobody is fooled.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.