Bolton memoir discusses possibility of replacing Pence, ‘cool’ Venezuela invasion, and more
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday published an excerpt of the book, and The New York Times and The Washington Post authored stories revealing some details. Among the main revelations were that Bolton charged that President Trump regularly gives “personal favors to dictators he liked,” backed the idea of more concentration camps in China, and asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him in the 2020 election by buying more U.S. agricultural goods.
A source close to Pompeo told Fox News late Wednesday: “Bolton is about selling books, not about telling the truth.“ The source added that Pompeo isn’t a note-passer, and suggested Bolton should prove his claim by producing the purported note.
The president, meanwhile, unloaded on Bolton in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ “Hannity” on Wednesday night. And, in a series of tweets early Thursday, Trump called Bolton a “Wacko,” a “dope,” and a “disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war.” Noting that The New York Times had described Bolton’s book as “exceedingly tedious,” Trump added: “President Bush fired him also. Bolton is incompetent!”
The Justice Department is seeking an emergency injunction preventing the release of Bolton’s book, saying Bolton had deliberately bypassed the necessary classification review process and that his manuscript still contains classified information.
Bolton served as national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019 and was United Nations ambassador in the George W. Bush administration. The following are selected portions of Bolton’s manuscript that shed additional light on his various publicized claims, as well as those that introduce new allegations.
Replacing Pence with Nikki Haley
En route to al-Asad Air Base in Iraq on a secretive flight in late 2018, Bolton writes, Trump “raised the widespread political rumor he would dump [Vice President Mike] Pence from the ticket in 2020 and run instead with [then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki] Haley, asking what I thought.”
Conventional wisdom at the gossip-prone White House, Bolton asserts in the book, was that “Ivanka [Trump] and [Jared] Kushner favored this approach, which tied in with Haley’s leaving her position as UN Ambassador in December 2018, thus allowing her to do some politicking around the country before being named to the ticket in 2020.”
The alleged calculus was that Haley could boost Trump among disaffected women voters, at the possible cost of losing evangelicals partial to Pence.
‘Cool’ invasion of Venezuela
The memoir describes frustration by John Kelly, who served as Trump’s chief of staff, over the president’s push to revoke the security clearance of ex-CIA Director John Brennan in late 2018. At the time, the White House charged that Brennan, an anti-Trump political commentator, had been “leveraging” the clearance to make “wild outbursts” and claims against the Trump administration in the media.
Kelly told Bolton he had an “argument” with Trump, saying it was “not presidential” to publicly revoke Brennan’s security clearance, according to Bolton. Kelly also told Bolton it was “Nixonian” behavior.
Bolton writes: “‘Has there ever been a presidency like this?’ Kelly asked me, and I assured him there had not. … I thought there was a case against Brennan for politicizing the CIA, but Trump had obscured it by the blatantly political approach he took. It would only get worse if more clearances were lifted.”
In an “emotional” moment, Bolton goes on, Kelly produced “a picture of his son, killed in Afghanistan in 2010.”
“Trump had referred to him earlier that day, saying to Kelly, ‘You suffered the worst,'” the manuscript reads. “Since Trump was disparaging the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq at the time, he had seemingly implied that Kelly’s son had died needlessly. ‘Trump doesn’t care what happens to these guys,’ Kelly said. He says it would be ‘cool’ to invade Venezuela.'”
‘Breathtaking’ China talks
Trump at various times lost faith in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin amid China trade negotiations with President Xi Jinping, according to Bolton’s book.
“Mnuchin fretted constantly about how this or that prosecution for hacking or other cybercrimes would hurt the trade negotiations, which Trump sometimes bought and sometimes didn’t,” Bolton writes. “At one point, he said to Mnuchin, ‘Steve, the Chinese see the fear in your eyes. That’s why I don’t want you negotiating with them.'”
Elsewhere in the manuscript, Bolton accuses the president of soliciting foreign election help during a June 29, 2019 meeting with Xi in Osaka, Japan.
“Xi told Trump that the U.S.-China relationship was the most important in the world. He said that some (unnamed) American political figures were making erroneous judgments by calling for a new Cold War with China,” Bolton writes. “Whether Xi meant to finger the Democrats or some of us sitting on the U.S. side of the table, I don’t know, but Trump immediately assumed that Xi meant the Democrats.”
North Korea’s ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ sale
Bolton’s eyewitness account of Trump’s North Korea diplomacy, including his summit with the country, paints a mixed portrait — at times offering an unsparing critique of the president’s political motivations, while sometimes crediting his distrust of dictator Kim Jong Un.
On May 25, 2019, a reporter asked Bolton if North Korea’s then-recent short-range missile launches violated Security Council resolutions, putting him in an “awkward position,” he writes.
Bolton “knew full well they did, having helped write the first two, Resolutions 1695 and 1718, when I was US Ambassador to the UN,” the book states, adding that he “wasn’t about to ignore” those resolutions. At the same time, “it was entirely possible for the launches to violate the resolutions without violating Kim’s pledge to Trump, which involved only ICBM launches. It was equally true that Trump looked foolish for not understanding that Kim had, in effect, sold him the Brooklyn Bridge with that pledge, but we were never able to shake Trump’s faith he had scored a coup in getting it.”
Article Source: Foxnews