I’ve just been reading the transcript of Bolton-accuser Melody Townsel’s interview with the foreign relations committee staff. It’s more than a 100 pages long, so I just skipped to the juicy parts–i.e., when Bolton allegedly threw stuff at her. Remember Townsel wrote this in a letter to the committee that the Democrats eagerly brandished before doing anything to confirm it: “Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel — throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman.” She then elaborated to USA Today: “‘He threw a folder across the desk at me’ during their first meeting, at the Aerostar hotel in Moscow. In a subsequent meeting, ‘he threw a plastic tape dispenser at me.’”
This makes the transcript interesting reading. She initially says that Bolton just threw a folder off a table–not necessarily even at her. And, according to the transcript, he “waved” a roll of tape at her (no longer a tape dispenser, but a roll of tape). After reviewing the transcript, she apparently has gone back and had that changed to “winged” a roll of tape at her. This all sounds very much like a contentenious exchange or two–during which she says twice that ” we began shouting”–that have been exaggerated in her memory and in her telling since. At one point she says Bolton was “speaking quite forcefully.” Almost as bad as putting his hands on his hips! By Melody’s own account she doesn’t sound like the most level-headed person.
Anyway, here are portion of the two relevant passages, which should obviously be taken with a grain of salt:
And we began to be heated. I was arguing with him. He accused me of fabricating the things that I had contained in the letter. I don’t recall if he had a letter at that point, or he was simply going on reports from Matthew Freedman, but I do remember that we began to shout at each other. And at some point during this, I’d say, about 15- to 25-minute conversation, Mr. Bolton punctuated his frustrated by just throwing a folder off the table, and a — a folder full of papers — and, at that point, I said, “This meeting is over,” and I got up, (inaudible) and returned to my hotel room.
In the second meeting, Mr. Bolton began the same place he did. There was no attempt to, sort of, defuse the anger with which he was approaching the situation. He reiterated all the things he said before, and, you know, it went on for about ten minutes, and then he accused me of being unstable, and he demanded, once again, that I recant my statement to AID about IBTCI, their performance on the contract. Again, we began shouting. And I stood up and made to leave for the door, and Mr. Bolton was, you know — you know, shouting and speaking quite forcefully that I was making the biggest mistake of my life, and that there would be litigation that followed. And he said, “You know, you’re crazy.” And I — and I said something to the effect of, “What, are you going throw something else at me again?” And he waved a roll of tape at me. And I left, with him shouting down the hall at me, and– that, you know, I was going to regret everything that I’d done.