What we learned from the amazing story of John Bolton working with Trump


Bolton described a conversation between the two world leaders at the June 2019 G-20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, where Trump told Xi that Midwestern farmers were the key to his re-election in November 2020. Trump has urged Xi to strengthen his political fortune by purchasing American agricultural produce, tying a promise to waive certain tariffs on China in return. Trump “stressed the importance of farmers and the increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the election results,” wrote Bolton.

Bolton also says it is difficult for him to think of a single decision made by Trump during his tenure at the White House “which was not motivated by re-election calculations.”

Trump had no problems with China’s concentration camps

Bolton describes several cases where Trump struggles with China-related issues after conversations with Xi, including the mass concentration camps that Beijing used to imprison and “re-educate” Uighur Muslims. Bolton writes that according to the American interpreter in the room during a conversation between Xi and Trump at the G-20 meeting in June 2019, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with the construction of the camps, which that Trump thought was “exactly the right thing to do.” ”

Bolton adds that Trump did not want to punish China for its crackdown on the Muslim minority due to the ongoing trade negotiations. “Religious repression in China was not on Trump’s agenda either; whether it was the Catholic Church or Falun Gong, she did not register, “writes Bolton.

Pompeo, famous for his loyalty to the president, may have talked about him

Bolton describes a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un in which the North Korean despot blamed the troubled relationship between his country and the United States for the actions of previous administrations. Highlighting the meetings he and Trump had held, Kim told the president that they could dispel the distrust and work quickly on a nuclear deal. After Trump tells Kim that he will ask the Senate to ratify any deal with North Korea, Bolton writes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo passed him a notebook. On it was scribbled the message, “He’s so full of shit.” ”

“I accepted,” writes Bolton, adding that Kim had not promised any other nuclear test. The State Department did not respond to CNN’s request to comment on Pompeo’s alleged note.

Trump has offered to help Turkish leader avoid Justice Ministry investigation

Bolton writes that in December 2018, Trump offered to help Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the context of a Ministry of Justice investigation into a Turkish bank linked to Erdogan suspected of having violated US sanctions against the Iran. When the Turkish leader presented Trump with a note from the law firm representing Halkbank, Trump leafed through it and then said that he believed the bank was completely innocent of having violated US sanctions related to Iran.

Trump told Erdogan that he would “take care of things” and explained that prosecutors in the southern district “were not his people, but the Obama people”, and the problem would be resolved when they were replaced by his people.

Bolton notes that “all of this was absurd” because Justice Department prosecutors were career employees who would have followed the same path as the Halkbank investigation, regardless of the president.

Prime Minister of Israel fails to understand why Kushner led peace in the Middle East

Before joining Trump’s White House, Bolton said he had a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who questioned Jared Kushner’s role in shaping a Middle East peace plan East.

Netanyahu “was doubtful to entrust the task of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Kushner, whose family Netanyahu had known for many years. He was politician enough not to publicly oppose the idea, but like in most countries of the world, he wondered why Kushner thought he would succeed where people like Kissinger had failed. “

The White House decision-making process was like a “food fight”

Bolton says that the weekly meetings to discuss the issues, chaired by Trump in the Roosevelt Room or the Oval Office, were more like college food fights than prudent decision-making, with no effort or lower-level involvement by them. competent agencies to resolve issues and options. “After these sessions, if I had believed in yoga, I probably could have used it,” wrote Bolton.

This is a theme Bolton returns to more than once, describing a mercurial president who has little interest in knowing how the federal government has worked. Instead, he describes Trump as very focused on how the decisions will play out in the media.

Trump did not like sanctions against Russia

Bolton says Trump has privately complained about sanctions and other punitive measures imposed on Russia with “protracted grunts and complaints,” even as he touted them in public.

After the U.S. announced a first round of sanctions against Russia for poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, Bolton said Trump wanted to cancel the sanctions and thought they were too much harsh with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Trump told Pompeo to call Lavrov and say that a” bureaucrat “had issued the sanctions – a call that may or may not have taken place,” wrote Bolton.

Bolton also claimed that Trump had stopped publishing a statement criticizing Russia on the tenth anniversary of his invasion of Georgia. The former national security adviser writes that these actions reflect “Trump’s difficulty in separating personal relationships from official relationships”.

Trump’s revealing questions: is Finland part of Russia?

Before the summit with Putin in Helsinki, Trump asked his advisers if Finland was part of Russia, or if it was a “sort of satellite of Russia”.

On his way to the Helsinki meeting, Trump stopped to see the then British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in the United Kingdom. During this meeting, May’s national security adviser, speaking of the Skripal poisoning, described the attack as nuclear. “Trump asked,” Oh, are you a nuclear power? “What I knew was no joke,” wrote Bolton.
And Bolton has repeatedly said that Trump has repeatedly mixed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani with former President Hamid Karzai.

Trump told people that Venezuela was truly part of the United States and wanted to invade

Bolton writes that during discussions on the overthrow of Nicolas Maduro’s regime, Trump “insisted on military options for Venezuela,” telling advisers that the country “is truly part of the United States.” At a meeting in March 2019 at the Pentagon, Trump explained to military leaders why the United States was in Afghanistan and Iraq, but not in Venezuela.

Trump’s repeated insistence that military options be considered to oust Maduro often shocked his assistants, lawmakers and advisers, writes Bolton. At a meeting with Florida Republicans, “Trump still wanted a military option,” leaving Senator Rick Scott and Governor Ron Desantis “simply dumbfounded,” while Senator Marco Rubio, who had previously heard Trump on the subject “, knew how to deviate politely. “

Trump wanted Attorney General Bill Barr to force CNN journalists to serve prison terms

When information was leaked about a secret meeting on Afghanistan at the Trump complex in Bedminster, Trump complained that CNN had reported that the summit was taking place, writes Bolton. The President told White House lawyer Pat Cipollone to call Attorney General Bill Barr regarding his desire “to arrest the journalists, force them to serve a prison sentence and then ask them to reveal their sources ”.

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler, Jeremy Herb, Nikki Carvajal, Kevin Liptak, Holmes Lybrand, Zachary Cohen, Sarah Westwood, Maegan Vazquez, Jamie Crawford, Michael Conte and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report


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