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Bolton defends Alito amid ‘outrageous’ flag controversy

Former national security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday fiercely defended Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito against a barrage of criticism following reporting that, at one point, two flags associated with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol had been on display outside his home.

“Absolutely not,” Bolton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked whether the recent reporting about the flag raised concerns about whether he can serve impartially on the Supreme Court.

“I think it is outrageous, outrageous and unacceptable, for people to take a flag from the American Revolution and say that because some January 6 protesters flew it, that it’s now unacceptable to fly that flag, and I’d like to hear a Democratic Party politician say that expressly,” added Bolton, who has frequently been critical of former President Trump and the risk he says Trump poses to the country’s national security.

An “Appeal to Heaven” flag – which has origins dating back to the Revolutionary War but is associated with Christian nationalism and “Stop the Steal” efforts today – was seen flying outside Alito’s New Jersey beach home in July and September 2023, the Times reported, around the same time a high-profile Jan. 6 case arrived at the Supreme Court.

The flag was also toted by rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Wednesday report comes just days after the newspaper reported that an upside-down American flag flew outside Alito’s Virginia home in January 2021 — around the time rioters stormed the Capitol when Congress was set to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election win over former President Trump.

The upside-down flag is also associated with the “Stop the Steal” movement that emerged from false election fraud claims in 2020. Alito said his wife hung the flag during a spat with neighbors but did not deny its political association.

“The January 6 people flew a lot of flags,” Bolton said, before offering some examples. ”They don’t have the right or the ability to expropriate a patriotic symbol of the United States, and then have everybody else say it belongs to them and condemn Sam Alito or anybody else for flying that flag.

“I think what’s unacceptable is this rush to find some reason to criticize Alito,” Bolton added.

Blitzer repeatedly pressed Bolton on the fact that the flags now do have political implications to certain groups, and he noted supporters of the so-called “Stop the Steal” movement have celebrated the reporting about the flags at Alito’s homes.

Bolton grew increasingly animated as he insisted that the flags did not have political implications and chastised those saying otherwise, adding, “They do not. That’s just wrong. That is just wrong,” and “Well they don’t have political implications to me.”

“It’s controversial for liberals who have it in for Sam Alito. It’s not controversial for me, and I’m as against Donald Trump as anybody I know in this country,” Bolton said.

Bolton said Alito should “certainly not recuse himself” from the Jan. 6 upcoming cases before the Supreme Court.

“There’s no indication that it was intended to express any support for January the sixth. And I’ll tell you, those who are using this tactic against Alito now, it will come back to haunt them,” he said.

Source: The Hill

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