no regrets
June 25, 2020

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said he doesn't regret only warning a few people about the alleged misconduct he witnessed while serving in President Trump's White House.

During an interview with MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Thursday afternoon, Bolton said he "passed this information to the people I thought I should pass it to and I don't have any second thoughts about that."

Bolton voiced his concerns over how Trump was dealing with the leaders of Ukraine, China, and Turkey to Attorney General William Barr and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and told Wallace having known Barr for more than 30 years, he believes he's "a man of integrity. I thought he would do his job."

Cipollone led Trump's legal team during the Senate impeachment trial, when Trump was accused of pressuring the president of Ukraine to dig up damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Bolton, who refused to testify during the House impeachment inquiry, defended his decision. "I don't march to Nancy Pelosi's drum," he said, and Democrats committed "impeachment malpractice" by not working closely with Republicans.

Wallace pressed Bolton on why he didn't tell more people his first-hand account of Trump's actions, instead holding onto the information and putting it in his new book, The Room Where It Happened. "I'm not into virtue signaling," he responded. Catherine Garcia

June 24, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is standing by a harsh accusation she threw at Senate Republicans on Tuesday.

In an interview with CBS News, Pelosi accused Senate Republicans of admitting their police reform bill doesn't go far enough but refusing to revise it anyway, saying "they're trying to get away with murder, actually — the murder of George Floyd." The Senate GOP called for Pelosi to apologize for those "disgusting comments," but when asked on Wednesday, Pelosi said she would "absolutely, positively not."

"I think you in the press have given them far too much credit for a bill that does nothing," Pelosi said Wednesday after acknowledging her comment about Floyd's death. "You're saying, you have their bill, they have theirs. Their bill does nothing," she continued.

Senate Republicans' police reform bill would encourage law enforcement departments to restrict the use of chokeholds — it wouldn't outright ban them, but would withhold aid from those who don't adhere to the new guidelines. New training measures would also be conditional to receive funding, but other hot-button issues such as no-knock warrants and qualified immunity aren't explicitly mentioned in the bill. House Democrats' proposal would ban no-knock warrants in drug cases and ban chokeholds, as well as create a federal registry of police misconduct. Senate Democrats blocked the Republican proposal on Wednesday. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 6, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg believes the U.S. invasion of Iraq was "a mistake," but doesn't regret supporting former President George W. Bush's decision to go to war.

The 2003 invasion came in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and Bloomberg told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that at the time, "America wanted to go to war, but it turns out it was based on faulty intelligence, and it was a mistake. But I think people that made the mistake did it honestly, and it's a shame, because it's left us entangled, and it's left the Middle East in chaos through today."

At the time, Bloomberg was the Republican mayor of New York City. He was a Democrat before that, became an independent in 2007, and returned to the Democratic Party in 2018. While he now sees the invasion as a grave error, he doesn't have any qualms with his previous support of it. "I don't live in a regret world and I didn't make that decision," he told the Times. Catherine Garcia

May 31, 2019

Attorney General William Barr is again defending his decision to testify that "spying did occur" on President Trump's 2016 campaign.

Barr, who came under fire for his use of the word "spying" during his congressional testimony, in an interview with CBS This Morning that aired Friday said of the word "spying," "I guess it has become a dirty word somehow" but "it hasn't ever been for me."

"I think there is nothing wrong with spying," Barr said. "The question is always whether it is authorized by law."

The attorney general also rejected the idea that his comment was an example of him purposely adhering to Trump's narrative that his campaign was improperly spied on, even as FBI Director Christopher Wray says he has seen no evidence that unauthorized surveillance of the Trump campaign occurred.

"You know, it is part of the craziness of the modern day that if a president uses a word, then all of a sudden it becomes off bounds," Barr said. "It is a perfectly good English word. I will continue to use it."

Among those who criticized Barr for his use of the word spying was former FBI Director James Comey, who said he has "no idea" what Barr is talking about because "the FBI doesn't spy. The FBI investigates." Wray also told Congress that spying is "not the term I would use." Brendan Morrow

March 20, 2019

Donna Brazile is defending herself after facing some criticism for going to work for Fox News, saying she thought long and hard about the decision and stands by it.

The former Democratic National Committee chair, who earlier this week was hired as a contributor for the network, spoke with The New Yorker on Wednesday and again said she accepted the job in order to reach those who might disagree with her, arguing that "if you want to help the country, if you want to try to improve democracy, you have to go into places where you are uncomfortable and try to stir things up." Journalist Isaac Chotiner didn't seem to fully buy this explanation, asking if she thinks Fox News itself may have contributed to the very lack of civility in political discourse that she decries.

"Is Fox responsible alone?" Brazile asked. "No ... I don't want to blame it on one entity." She instead criticized "the entire media landscape," especially journalists who reported on emails of hers released by WikiLeaks, later saying, "I knew people were going to call and say, 'Don’t you know the house might stink up?' Yeah, but is that the only house that is stinky?"

The conversation got a bit heated when Brazile said she hopes to "call out" racism, to which Chotiner responded that she'll be "seeing it a lot now" at Fox. "I hope you understand that you are having a conversation with me because I chose to call you back," Brazile said. "I understood that when I made this decision to call you that you probably wanted to get up in my crap about going on Fox." She later told Chotiner not to act "somehow appalled that a black woman, or a woman, or a liberal progressive" would go work for Fox, saying she has "all my marbles" and telling the reporter, "you don't know me." Brendan Morrow

May 3, 2017

If faced again with the choice of whether to alert Congress about the possibility of more relevant Hillary Clinton emails during the late stages of a presidential election, FBI Director James Comey says he'd "make the same decision." At a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his judgment on the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server, Comey said he and his team thought very carefully before alerting Congress about the emails less than two weeks before Election Day. The emails did not end up changing the FBI's conclusion about the investigation.

"It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might've had some impact on the election. But honestly it wouldn't change the decision," Comey said, describing the experience as "one of the world's most painful." Clinton on Tuesday blamed Comey's letter for her loss in the election, saying it "raised doubts" in potential supporters' minds.

Comey explained that when he found out that there may be emails containing classified information from Clinton aide Huma Abedin on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner's laptop, which had been "seized in an unrelated case," he felt like he had no choice but to do something. "I could not see a door labeled 'no action here,'" Comey said. "I could see two doors, and they were both actions: One was labeled 'speak,' the other was labeled 'conceal.'" He argued that not alerting Congress that the FBI was restarting an investigation he'd repeatedly said was over would have been "catastrophic."

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) suggested Comey also could've kept up the FBI "tradition of not announcing investigations." Watch Comey defend his decision below. Becca Stanek

See More Speed Reads