TDS on Maximum: Lawrence O'Donnell's Conspiracy Theory on John Bolton

Listen, guys. Impeachment is huge. I mean, it's tremendous. President Donald Trump is terrified that if the Senate just knew how horrible he is, they would vote to remove him in a heartbeat. All that's necessary for the truth to come out is former National Security Advisor John Bolton spilling his guts to the American people. Trump wants to prevent that at all costs. In fact, he'd be willing to start World War III to stay in office.

Or so go the musings of one Lawrence O'Donnell, a host at MSNBC. While the entire rest of the world is fooled, he has figured out the secret truth behind Trump's airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Suleimani. You see, it had nothing to do with the Iran-backed militias storming the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. It had nothing to do with the hundreds of American troops Soleimani's efforts had killed and the troops who may have been targeted in the future. It had nothing to do with the fact he was a terrorist mastermind ravaging the Middle East for decades.

No, it was all about appeasing John Bolton.

Thank God for the genius of Lawrence O'Donnell, that he can see through the Trump administration's lies and finally get to the bottom of a decision that made absolutely no sense until today!

How did the MSNBC host discover the real truth, you ask? He read The New York Times. The Times ran a shocking expose with salacious details of John Bolton's forthcoming book — an expose that was certainly not coordinated with Bolton's book coming out for pre-order on Amazon the same day (how dare you suggest such a thing!). The Times suggested that after months of witnesses refusing to say Trump directly confessed to a quid pro quo with Ukraine, John Bolton was finally the one witness to bring the whole shining golden tower down.

Of course, no one at the Times read the manuscript. No, they spoke with anonymous White House officials who had read the manuscript because Bolton had sent it to the White House for vetting before publication. The former advisor did confirm to Fox News that the Times report was roughly accurate regarding its hearsay of his unverified claims in the aforementioned book (available on Amazon — pre-order your copy today!).

Yes, this is the same John Bolton who resigned from the White House in September but who cheered the death of Qasem Soleimani.

"Congratulations to all involved in eliminating Qassem Soleimani. Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide. Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran," Bolton tweeted.

This evidence was all that Lawrence O'Donnell needed to come to his stunning — and clearly accurate — conclusion that Trump only killed Soleimani in order to pay off John Bolton to convince him not to testify in impeachment, or something.

"John Bolton is an extreme hawk on Iran. 2 days after Bolton submitted his manuscript to the White House, Trump killed Iran's General Qassem Soleimani. Coincidence? Or was Trump trying to influence Bolton not to testify to the Senate?" the MSNBC host tweeted.

Dear reader, I must confess what I'm sure you've surmised by this point — I've been speaking tongue-in-cheek this entire time. It just didn't feel right to report this hilariously absurd conspiracy theory in plain language. Apparently, Lawrence O'Donnell wants to be taken seriously with this insanity — he has not yet deleted the tweet, nor apparently has he realized how dumb it looks.

Honestly, this conspiracy theory reminds me of all those polls in which Democrats say Barack Obama is the best president and Republicans say Donald Trump is the best president. Lawrence O'Donnell is not just suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, he's also suffering from acute recency bias.

It appears the salivating MSNBC host read the Times article with delight and thought John Bolton was the final push to get the Trump house of cards to collapse in on itself. From this ridiculous standpoint, it might make sense that Trump would do anything to get Bolton not to testify. Naturally, with hindsight, we now know that the immense geopolitical victory that was Soleimani's death would not inspire World War III, but only a week of fearmongering.

O'Donnell shows his Trump derangement syndrome in the passion to search for an underlying hidden motive for the Soleimani strike — as if the Quds Force leader had not wreaked havoc on the Middle East, killed hundreds of U.S. troops, likely coordinated an attack on a U.S. Embassy, and almost certainly was planning more attacks, some likely imminent. None of this is enough to satisfy Lawrence O'Donnell, who must find Trump's nefarious motive in carrying out this extremely reasonable response.

Then the recency bias kicked in. The New York Times revealed that John Bolton was the critical witness to destroy the president's impeachment defense, or so the MSNBC host seemingly thinks. (Bolton's claim is questionable and even if the former advisor is telling the truth, most Republicans would likely conclude that this is not an impeachable offense.) Since John Bolton is the "bombshell" of the moment, he must be the hidden piece to explain Trump's strike on Soleimani.

That this is a conspiracy theory should be obvious to anyone even slightly familiar with the Republican thinking on impeachment and the evil history of Qasem Soleimani. Yet it seems Lawrence O'Donnell is so deeply infected by TDS and recency bias, and so immersed in a liberal bubble, that he is willing to propose this kind of conspiracy theory.

Tyler O'Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.