- Former national security adviser John Bolton makes a number of shocking claims about President Donald Trump in his upcoming tell-all memoir.
- Bolton skewers Trump’s command of national security and foreign policy with a string of damning anecdotes.
- Bolton wrote that Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him with the 2020 election and said it would be “cool” if the US invaded Venezuela.
- He also wrote that Trump said all journalists were “scumbags” who should be “executed” and the US president praised China for building concentration camps.
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Former national security adviser John Bolton makes a number of explosive claims about President Donald Trump in his forthcoming memoir.
The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal published details from it on Wednesday based on prepublication copies they obtained of the book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.”
In the book, Bolton accuses the House of Representatives of committing “impeachment malpractice” and alleges that the president had engaged in significantly more impeachable conduct than just what he was ultimately accused of.
The former national security adviser has attracted significant criticism from Democrats for including these details in his book after refusing to testify in the House’s impeachment hearings against Trump last year.
He later agreed to testify before the Republican-controlled Senate if subpoenaed, but the upper chamber voted against calling any new witnesses in the president’s January trial.
Here are the most shocking claims Bolton makes in the book:
Trump on several occasions wanted to “give personal favours to dictators he liked” by offering to kill federal criminal investigations in the US into foreign companies based out of China and Turkey, according to the book.
- Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would “take care” of a criminal investigation into a Turkish company being pursued by federal prosecutors in New York and said “that the Southern District prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people,” Bolton said.
- Trump had a poor command over national security and foreign policy issues, including not knowing that the United Kingdom was a nuclear power and asking if Finland was a part of Russia, according to the book.
- At the 2019 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to purchase large quantities of American soybeans and wheat to help Trump’s 2020 reelection chances, Bolton wrote.
- Trump told Xi that Americans wanted him to be able to serve more than two terms as president, according to the book.
- Trump supported China holding Uighur Muslims in concentration camps: “According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do,” Bolton wrote.
- In intelligence briefings, “much of the time was spent listening to Trump, rather than Trump listening to the briefers,” and Trump lacked the respect of many of his high-level staff members, according to the book.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened in on a call between Trump and South Korea’s president before Trump’s 2018 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Bolton wrote. After the call, Pompeo said he was “having a cardiac arrest,” while Bolton said the conversation was like a “near-death experience.”
- At the summit itself, Bolton said Pompeo passed him a note calling Trump “full of s—.”
- Trump, who has frequently referred to Kim as “little rocket man,” was fixated on having Pompeo give an autographed copy of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” to Kim on a diplomatic trip to North Korea, according to the book.
- Trump said it would be “cool” for the US to invade Venezuela, describing the South American nation as “really part of the United States,” Bolton wrote.
- In a 2019 meeting in New Jersey, Bolton said Trump suggested that journalists should be jailed more easily and forced to give up their sources, calling reporters “scumbags” and saying they should be “executed.”
- Trump’s decision to release a statement defending Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in November 2018 after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was meant to distract from an unflattering story about his daughter Ivanka, a White House adviser, using a private email account, according to the book.
- Shortly after Bolton joined the White House, he said former chief of staff John Kelly told him, “You can’t imagine how desperate I am to get out of here.” He added: “This is a bad place to work, as you will find out.”
Bolton’s book is set to be released on June 23, and he has already taped an interview with ABC News to promote it. On Tuesday, the Trump administration sued the former national security adviser to prevent him from releasing the book.
The lawsuit against Bolton accuses him of breaking his contract by backing out of the National Security Council’s ongoing vetting process to determine whether his book contains classified information that needs to be redacted or edited down.
The NSC “quickly identified significant quantities of classified information that it asked Defendant to remove,” the complaint said. “An iterative process between NSC Staff and Defendant then began, as required by the binding agreements he signed, with changes to the book and other information being securely passed between Defendant and NSC staff. Soon, though, Defendant apparently became dissatisfied at the pace of NSC’s review.”
The suit alleges that instead of waiting for the process to conclude, Bolton “decided to take matters into his own hands.”
On June 7, “without Defendant giving any prior notice to the NSC, press reports revealed that Defendant and his publisher had resolved to release the book on June 23, without completing the pre-publication review process,” the lawsuit said.
Legal experts say that despite the president’s threats, the administration’s legal efforts against Bolton would likely be unsuccessful.
“This attempt by the Trump administration to block the publication of John Bolton’s memoir is doomed to fail,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed.
The Supreme Court rejected the Nixon administration’s attempt to block the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, “and since then it has been firmly established that prior restraints on publication are unconstitutional and un-American,” the statement added.
In this case, the ACLU said, the Trump administration’s threats “have nothing to do with safeguarding national security, and everything to do with avoiding scandal and embarrassment.”
Bolton was widely viewed as a potential star witness in Trump’s impeachment hearings and subsequent Senate trial last year and early this year, thanks to his perch atop the White House’s national security apparatus and his place within Trump’s inner circle.
His lawyer Chuck Cooper indicated in a letter to Congress that the former national security adviser knew more than what had already been revealed during Trump’s impeachment.
Bolton “was personally involved in many of the events, meetings, and conversations about which you have already received testimony, as well as many relevant meetings and conversations that have not yet been discussed in the testimonies thus far,” Cooper wrote.