George W. Bush couldn't get John Bolton through the United States Senate. So with Congress off for its August recess, Bush will resort to pure presidential power today and install Bolton in the job through a recess appointment, NBC News and the Associated Press are reporting.
You might think that the president would want the nation's ambassador to the United Nations to arrive on the job with at least the appearance of the support of the Senate. You'd be wrong, of course. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tried twice to get Bolton confirmed, and he fell short each time. Back in June, Frist said he was giving up -- but then he met with Bush at the White House and walked out with new marching orders. Frist said the president wanted an up or down vote on Bolton, and that he'd keep trying to get him one.
The vote never came, and the news on Bolton kept getting worse. In the Senate questionnaire he completed as part of his confirmation process, Bolton claimed that he had not testified before a grand jury or been interviewed in connection with any investigations within the last five years. That turned out to be false: As the State Department conceded last week, Bolton was interviewed in 2003 by State's inspector general as part of the investigation into the CIA's conclusion that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from Niger.
Thirty-six senators have written to Bush, highlighting Bolton's lack of candor on the Niger investigation as one more reason that he shouldn't be sent to the United Nations on a recess appointment. It appears that they'll get their response later today.