Fox News reports President Trump lashed out at former national security adviser John Bolton in an exclusive interview on “Hannity” on Wednesday night, saying Bolton “broke the law” by writing a forthcoming book about his time in the Trump administration.
“He was a washed-up guy,” Trump told host Sean Hannity, referring to Bolton. “He couldn’t get Senate-confirmed. So I gave him a non-Senate-confirmed position. I could just put him there, see how we worked. And I wasn’t very enamored.”
Hannity had asked Trump to respond to a claim in Bolton’s memoir, “The Room Where it Happened,” that the president asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, for assistance with Trump’s reelection campaign during the G-20 summit in June 2019.
“He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US [sic] presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton wrote of Trump in the book. “He [Trump] stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.
“I would print Trump’s exact words,” Bolton continued, “but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”
“Well, first of all,” Trump responded, “nobody has been tougher on Russia or China than I have. Nobody even close. China’s paying us billions of dollars a year. They never gave us 10 cents [before], and [Joe] Biden’s son walked away with a billion and a half dollars to manage, making hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars on it.
“So nobody has been tough on China and nobody has been tough with Russia like I have. And that’s that’s in the record books. And it’s not even close. The last administration did nothing on either.”
Later in the interview, Trump criticized Bolton for his advocacy of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“He went into the Middle East,” the president said. “He was one of the big guns for, ‘Let’s go into Iraq,’ and that didn’t work out too well.” Trump added that he had asked Bolton about a month into the latter’s tenure as national security adviser, “What do you think? Do you think you made a mistake there?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Trump said Bolton responded, to which the president said he replied, “Explain that one.”
“He broke the law, very simple,” Trump repeated. “I mean, as much as it’s going to be broke. This is highly classified. That’s the highest stage. It’s highly classified information and he did not have approval. That’s come out now very loud and very strong.”
After the “Hannity” appearance, the president posted a couple of comments on Twitter regarding Bolton.
“Wacko John Bolton’s ‘exceedingly tedious’ (New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories,” Trump wrote. “Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!”
Wacko John Bolton’s “exceedingly tedious”(New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories. Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2020