GOP senator threatens to vote against Bolton

Posted in United States | 18-Apr-05 | Source: USA Today

John Bolton
WASHINGTON (AP) — A top Senate Republican raised the possibility Sunday that he might vote against President Bush's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations if more accusations surface about John Bolton's alleged harassment of analysts who disagreed with his views

With a Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote expected Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska was asked whether he would endorse Bolton.

"At this point, I will ... but I have been troubled with more and more allegations, revelations, coming about his style, his method of operation," said Hagel, the committee's No. 2 Republican.

"We need a uniter," he told CNN's "Late Edition." "We need a builder. We need someone who will reach out to our friends and our allies at the United Nations."

Bolton, who is now undersecretary of state, has been a vocal U.N. critic and rankled some lawmakers with his tough talk on foreign policy.

Democrats, who have accused Bolton of bullying subordinates, requested last week that a vote be delayed for further questioning of Bolton in writing and while they sought testimony by three U.S. officials on what lawmakers said were Bolton's efforts to remove dissenting analysts from their jobs.

Hagel said he was disturbed to learn of allegations that Bolton tried to intimidate an analyst — a State Department employee — who is now a temporary staffer in the senator's office.

Rexon Ryu did not initially tell Hagel about his encounter with Bolton until Ryu discovered the matter would become public.

Bolton and Ryu reportedly clashed in 2003 when Ryu allegedly failed to provide a document for Bolton's chief of staff. Bolton, allegedly accused Ryu of hiding information.

Hagel deemed the allegations "a disturbing pattern of things that have come out about Bolton's management style, this intimidation. We cannot have that at the United Nations. That should not be anywhere in our government."

Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the committee, said he hopes to confirm Bolton on Tuesday, ending "not a pleasant set of hearings" on the contentious nominee.

The president "thinks Bolton is an agent of reform, has really the skills and the savvy and what have you, and maybe the combative nature, to bring about change," Lugar, R-Ind., told "Fox News Sunday."

But the committee's top Democrat said Bolton, a critic of the world body in the past, lacks credibility for the job, which could undermine U.S. influence.

"John Bolton's strong and in some areas very respected ideological view of foreign policy intelligence are admirable, but they're not admirable for someone running a Cabinet-level position, one of the largest embassies in the world, which is essentially, the embassy of the United States at the U.N.," Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. said.

"What happens when our ambassador has to stand up and make the case on intelligence relating to Iraq and North Korea?" Biden added. "Do you think John Bolton is going to be believed? ... I think it matters a great deal whether or not they have credibility as we move into these most dangerous moments with Korea and with Iran."

Last week, the second-ranking senator of the minority Democratic Party said he expected Bolton to be confirmed despite Democrat efforts to derail Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador.

"I think ultimately he will be confirmed, but I hope there will be a spirited debate before that happens," Sen. Dick Durbin, of Illinois, said.