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Bolton defends ex-rival John Kelly after former chief of staff criticizes Trump

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

Posted: Feb 14, 2020 10:50 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 10:50 AM

Former national security adviser John Bolton defended his ex-colleague, former White House chief of staff John Kelly, after President Donald Trump belittled Kelly for comments backing an impeachment witness.

"John Kelly is an honorable man," Bolton tweeted on Thursday. "John and I have disagreed at times, as is commonplace at senior government levels, but he has always served his country faithfully. Conservatives especially have a responsibility to reject baseless attacks upon him."

Bolton's comments continue a trend of the two men joining forces of late against Trump's attacks, despite their rocky relationship when they served together in the West Wing.

The Atlantic reported that, during remarks on Wednesday, Kelly asserted that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in Trump's impeachment inquiry, had been right to raise concerns about the President's July call with Ukraine's President and that he had told the truth during his testimony.

The comments attracted the ire of Trump, who responded with a pair of tweets disparaging his former chief of staff, a retired Marine Corps general, on Thursday morning.

"When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn't do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn't for him," Trump tweeted. "He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X's, he misses the action & just can't keep his mouth shut,.....which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do."

The President also asserted that Kelly's behavior contradicted an assurance his wife had previously offered.

"His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that 'John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you.' Wrong!" Trump added.

The relationship between Bolton and Kelly wasn't always so collegial. In 2018, a heated argument in the West Wing between the two men over a recent surge in migrant border crossings turned into a shouting match, two sources familiar with the argument told CNN at the time.

Bolton reportedly said that then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen needed to start doing her job -- which incensed Kelly, a source said at the time. Nielsen had served as Kelly's deputy when he ran the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump, who was angry about the rising levels of migrants and had threatened to shut down the southern border on Twitter earlier that morning, took Bolton's side during the argument.

Since then, Kelly has previously backed Bolton's opinions against the President as well. Kelly said last month that he believes Bolton's allegation that Trump had told the former national security adviser that US security aid to Ukraine was conditioned on an investigation into the President's political rivals, adding that Bolton should be heard from.

"If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton," Kelly said in January when asked about the leaked draft manuscript during remarks at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall lecture series, according to the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Florida.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
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