John Bolton: Trump ‘chickening out’ on Supreme Court arguments

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Former national security adviser John Bolton said he thinks former President Trump is “chickening out” by not making an appearance Thursday at the Supreme Court as it hears arguments over his ballot eligibility.

Trump, who appointed three justices to the Supreme Court, will be at Mar-a-Lago in Florida before traveling Thursday to Nevada, CNN reported.

The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments that day in a case that will determine whether Trump can be disqualified from the ballot under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.

“I think, in this case, he’s worried that he’s outnumbered nine to one. It’s not just some district judge somewhere, some state court judge in New York, this is the Supreme Court,” Bolton told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Tuesday. “This is the third branch of the government sitting in front of him, three of whose members he appointed, and I think he thinks maybe a little overawed by that. I think he’s chickening out here.”

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Bolton argued that Trump doesn’t understand the Supreme Court “much better than he understands most of the rest of the Constitution.”

The former national security adviser, who served under the Trump administration, pushed back on the idea that the justices Trump appointed could let him off easy as his legal battles are thrust into the hands of the Supreme Court.

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“I think those who think that his appointees will just do what he wants and are afraid … I don’t think they know really the kinds of justices he appointed,” Bolton said. “I think he’s going to be disappointed in them.”

The arguments on the ballot eligibility question come just after an appeals court ruled against the former president’s argument that he has presidential immunity in a separate case about election interference. The opinion’s design essentially forces Trump to file an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court by Feb. 12 if he wants to keep the trial on hold ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Bolton said he thinks the Washington, D.C., appeals court decision “was correct for the case they had” but thinks parts of the opinion was confused and muddy.

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It’s unclear whether the Supreme Court would agree to hear an appeal of the appeals court’s panel ruling, but Bolton said the portion of the argument that they may take up is centered around fixing the reasoning of the decision so that future cases “are not confused” about a president inserting themselves in the electoral count process.

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