'I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle': John Bolton unloads about Trump's relationship with Putin
Former National Security Advisor, John Bolton said Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't take Trump seriously, according to a clip of an interview with ABC News' Martha Raddatz. "I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle," Bolton said. Bolton also said that Trump was uninterested in learning and reading about foreign affairs. The interview is meant to promote Bolton's new tell-all book "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir." The book is set to be released on June 23, but the Trump administration has sued Bolton claiming it has classified information. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories
Former national security advisor John Bolton said Russian President Vladimir Putin does not consider US President Donald Trump as a "serious adversary." "I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle," Bolton told ABC News' Martha Raddatz. "I think Putin is smart, tough. I think he sees that he's not faced with a serious adversary here. I don't think he's worried about Donald Trump."
.@MarthaRaddatz: “How would you describe Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin?”John Bolton: “I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle.”Watch more from the exclusive interview this Sunday at 9|8c on ABC. pic.twitter.com/VALmx3Z0f0 — ABC News (@ABC) June 17, 2020
Trump's relationship with Russia and Putin has been scrutinized since the 2016 presidential campaign. Former special counsel Robert Mueller found that Russia worked to get Trump elected, though his investigation did not find enough evidence to suggest that Russia coordinated with the Trump campaign. Trump has repeatedly praised Putin and Russia and spoken in favor of Russia, saying he trusted Putin's word over US intelligence agencies over Russian meddling in the election. Trump has also supported Putin being allowed to rejoin the G7 among other overtures of support for Putin. Earlier on Wednesday, The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal published excerpts from Bolton's tell-all book "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir." Bolton made a number of shocking claims about Trump in his book, including alleging that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him with the 2020 election and that he called all journalists "scumbags" that should be executed. The former national security advisor, who refused to testify in the House of Representatives' impeachment hearings also accused the House of committing "impeachment malpractice." He alleged that Trump had engaged in significantly more impeachable conduct than just what he was ultimately impeached over. In his interview with Raddatz, Bolton was also critical of Trump's handling and knowledge of foreign affairs and the way he deals with other leaders. He added that while Putin has spent his life understanding Russia's political standing in the world, Trump is uninterested in reading or learning about global issues and that puts America in a "very difficult" position. "Well, the president may well be a superb dealmaker when it comes to Manhattan real estate," Bolton said. "Dealing with arms limitation treaties on strategic weapons, dealing in many, many international other security issues are things far removed from his life experience." The ABC News interview is meant to promote his book which is expected to be released on June 23. On Tuesday, the Trump administration sued Bolton alleging he broke 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. 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 Bolton "decided to take matters into his own hands," instead of waiting for the process to conclude. However, legal experts have said that administration efforts to prevent him from releasing the book 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 White House did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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EXCLUSIVE: John Bolton on Trump's performance, the 2020 election, foreign interference, and COVID-19
In a wide-ranging interview with Business Insider on Monday, former national security adviser John Bolton discussed...In a wide-ranging interview with Business Insider on Monday, former national security adviser John Bolton discussed the 2020 election, President Donald Trump's performance, foreign interference, and the coronavirus pandemic. Bolton said that if people thought about resigning "every time something objectionable happened" in the Trump White House, "you'd last about three or four hours in the job." On Trump's suggestion to delay the November general election, Bolton said, "It's completely beyond any reasonable consideration to delay the election. I found it very troubling that the president would even talk about it." The former national security adviser also skewered the Trump administration's pandemic response and said he would give the president an "F" on his handling of the crisis. "Even today, we do not have a comprehensive strategy, we don't have clear objectives, we're not really on top of this, and I think that's fairly typical of the way Trump handles most aspects of, certainly, the national security field," Bolton said. Scroll down to read key excerpts and watch the full interview. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Former national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that if people thought about resigning "every time something objectionable happened" in the Trump White House, "you'd last about three or four hours in the job." In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Bolton said he considered resigning several times during the last few months of his tenure as national security adviser. President Donald Trump said he ousted Bolton in September 2019 because he "disagreed strongly" with many of Bolton's decisions. But Bolton pushed back on Trump's statement, saying at the time, "Let's be clear, I resigned." "I used to say I was the national security adviser, not the national security decision-maker," Bolton told Business Insider on Monday. "Anybody who goes into an administration and has the honor to be there at a senior level knows that there are a lot of issues that their views are not going to prevail, and you have to be willing to accept that." "If you thought about resigning each and every time something objectionable happened, you'd last about three or four hours in the job," he added. "So it's part of the price of having … the honor of presenting your points of view is you're going to have to accept things that you find contrary to your beliefs. And you bare that as long as you can, and then you resign, which is what I did." In his new book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," Bolton chronicled multiple incidents which, according to him, showed how unprepared and unfit Trump was for the presidency. But he said the incident that shocked him most was Trump's disastrous summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki during the summer of 2018. At the time, Trump refused to condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. He also contradicted the US intelligence community and said he didn't "see any reason why" Russia would have meddled. "I was sitting in the audience with Chief of Staff John Kelly, and we were both frozen to our chairs," Bolton told Business Insider. "We couldn't believe what we had heard. And we spent a good part of the flight on Air Force One back to Washington trying to explain to the president why he was getting such a negative reaction from the press back in Washington. The president didn't seem to understand that people might be upset that he equated what Putin said with what our intelligence community said." Bolton on Trump's suggestion to delay the November election, foreign interference, and who he'll vote for The former national security adviser also weighed in on Trump's recent suggestion that the general election be postponed or delayed. "It's completely beyond any reasonable consideration to delay the election," Bolton said. "It's set by statute and the idea of changing it at the last minute, I just think no one in the Republican Party was prepared to accept outside of the White House staff, perhaps. And I found it very troubling that the president would even talk about it." Trump cannot unilaterally cancel or postpone the November 3 general election by executive order, under the parameters of a national emergency or disaster declaration, or even if he declared martial law. Congress also in 1845 set the date on which states must appoint their electors to the electoral college — which they do by holding elections — to be the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Multiple top Republican lawmakers also forcefully rebuked Trump's suggestion when he first floated it late last month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a WNKY TV anchor he believed the general election date is "set in stone" and that past elections have taken place during crises. Bolton told Business Insider on Monday that "in a perfect world," he would limit early voting, absentee voting, and voting by mail. "I think there's a central element of democratic theory that we have the opportunity as a nation to do one thing all together on one day, that we all show up at the polling place and vote," he said. In terms of absentee voting, Bolton said he doesn't believe there's anything wrong with placing "really stringent requirements" to limit absentee voting. "The idea that the pandemic is going to force us to go to massive balloting by mail worries me a great deal," he said, adding that it could "simply continue even when the pandemic is gone." Bolton said he will vote for neither Trump nor former Vice President and 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the election. Instead, he said he will write in the name of a conservative Republican. "I'm not going to vote for Biden for philosophical reasons, and I'm not going to vote for Trump for philosophical reasons and because he's not competent," Bolton said. He added that he's "thinking of names" of write-in candidates, but that he doesn't "want to get anybody in trouble." "If I mentioned any names, there would be a two-minute Twitter rant by the president, and they don't need that," the former national security adviser joked. On foreign election interference, Bolton said that "we don't know" the extent to which China is prepared to meddle in the race. "We have more experience with Russia because of its efforts in 2016," but "I do think China has a broader program to try and intervene in the overall political environment in the United States." He touted the administration's decision while he was national security adviser to change the decision-making rules for the authorization of offensive cyber measures to deter foreign powers from meddling in the US electoral process. But he said that overall, there needs to be a "broader discussion" in the US on the topic. Bolton says he would give Trump an 'F' on his coronavirus response The former national security adviser also weighed in on the US's response to the coronavirus pandemic. As of Monday, more than 162,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 5 million have been infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. "It was a failure in the Oval Office" to mount a swift and strong response, Bolton said. The US intelligence community warned at least a dozen times of an impending pandemic before the disease gained a foothold in the US. Officials on the National Security Council, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies were also raising red flags. "But the president didn't want to hear it," Bolton said. "He didn't want to hear bad news about his friend Xi Jinping, he didn't want to hear about the Chinese cover-up about what was actually happening with the virus in China," or anything that might hamper China's ability to adhere to the trade deal Trump signed last year. Most importantly, Bolton said, Trump "didn't want to hear that this disease could be so threatening that it could impair the US economy significantly and therefore his ticket to reelection." Asked how he would grade Trump's pandemic response, Bolton said he would give his former boss an F. "Even today, we do not have a comprehensive strategy, we don't have clear objectives, we're not really on top of this, and I think that's fairly typical of the way Trump handles most aspects of, certainly, the national security field," Bolton said. Overall, he said Trump "ranks at the bottom" of all US presidents. "History will show he'll be right down there with James Buchanan and others of that ilk because he really, I don't think, to this day fully understands the magnitude of his responsibilities as president, and I don't think that he brings to the office the kind of attention and care and prudence that I think are required in a good president," Bolton said. Bolton added that when he first took on the role in Trump's administration, he believed the office would "shape" Trump as it has other presidents. "But I don't think it affected him at all, and I think that we're the worse off for it," he said. Grace Panetta contributed to this reporting.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: July 15 is Tax Day — here's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
Bolton says it's pointless for Trump to try to stop his book now, after 200,000 copies have been shipped and its contents have been reported everywhere
Lawyers for John Bolton said Thursday that President Donald Trump's attempts to block publication of his...Lawyers for John Bolton said Thursday that President Donald Trump's attempts to block publication of his book were futile. In a legal filing they said 200,000 copies had already shipped, and they noted that the media had been full of reports of its contents. The Trump administration is trying to secure a court order to stop the book from being published, with a hearing scheduled for Friday. Bolton's response said Trump "cannot plausibly argue that Ambassador Bolton has power to stop the Amazon delivery trucks in America, unshelve the copies in Europe, commandeer the copies in Canada." Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories. John Bolton, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, said Thursday that attempts by the White House to block publication of his book were pointless because it was already widely distributed and its contents were widely known. The Trump administration is scrambling to stop the release of Bolton's new book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," and a court hearing is scheduled for Friday in Washington, DC. Bolton's book alleges incompetence and malpractice by the president that Bolton says he witnessed firsthand during his tenure from April 2018 to September 2019. It includes claims that Trump tried to solicit the help of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the 2020 election and thought Finland was part of Russia rather than an independent country, even though he had been there. Business Insider has rounded up the most explosive claims. The Trump administration claims that the book contains classified information. It has also said parts of it are untrue. In a document filed late Thursday, lawyers for Bolton argued that Trump's request to stop the publication of the book was effectively pointless because Bolton no longer had the power to do so. It said more than 200,000 copies had already been distributed to warehouses and some to individual consumers. It also argued that neither Bolton nor the publisher Simon & Schuster had the ability to get them back. It also gestured to reports in news outlets around the world that had reported the contents of Bolton's book based on review copies and excerpts. Business Insider is among these. A portion of the document, reviewed by Business Insider, says: "The Government cannot plausibly argue that Ambassador Bolton has power to stop the Amazon delivery trucks in America, unshelve the copies in Europe, commandeer the copies in Canada, and repossess the copies sent to reviewers or in the possession of major newspapers. "Nor has the Government provided any evidence or given any reason to expect that hundreds of booksellers and reviewers with copies of the book have any legal obligation to return their copies of the book or that they would voluntarily do so if Ambassador Bolton or Simon & Schuster asked them to do so." You can read the rest of Business Insider's coverage of Bolton and his book here.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We tested a machine that brews beer at the push of a button
Allegations in former US adviser John Bolton’s White House memoir mocked on Finnish social media Finnish...Allegations in former US adviser John Bolton’s White House memoir mocked on Finnish social media Finnish social media users reacted with derision to the claim in John Bolton’s book about the Trump administration that the US president didn’t know if Finland was part of Russia.The former US national security adviser’s unflattering account was highly critical of Trump during his 17 months in the White House. According to excerpts, Trump asked his former chief of staff John Kelly whether Finland was part of its vast eastern neighbour, ahead of his 2018 visit to Helsinki for talks with President Vladimir Putin. Continue reading...