Despite the Trump’s administration efforts to block the release of John Bolton’s upcoming memoir, the book will see the light of day on 23 June after US District Judge Royce Lamberth argued that there was effectively nothing he could do about the myriads of copies of “The Room Where It Happened” that have now been dispatched all over the country.
The Trump administration maintains that the book contains classified information and could potentially imperil American national security.
But as Lamberth said last week: “The horse, as we used to say in Texas, seems to be out of the barn”.
So what have been the key takeaways from such a damning work so far?
Trump’s Re-Election Plea to China
One of the most staggering claims made in the book is that Donald Trump once allegedly appealed to Chinese president Xi Jinping during a G20 meeting in Japan in 2019, purportedly asking him to help with his re-election bid through the purchase of American agricultural products.
“Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win. He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome”, Bolton wrote.
The claim has, however, been dismissed by White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro. The official argued during a recent interview with CNN that he was in the room during the presidents’ meeting and “never heard” such an issue being discussed.
Hassle Over NATO Budget
It is no secret that Donald Trump has been a persistent critic of some NATO member states for their failure to meet the defence spending target of two percent of GDP. The book now claims that it is not clear whether the US president “ever understood” that the Cardiff commitment over the NATO budget was not about “contributions” but rather “aggregate defence spending”. Bolton also details Trump’s phone conversation with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg prior to the 2018 Summit during which he pledged that the United States would only contribute the same amount of money to the alliance as Germany.
“But saying he would reduce the US “contribution” to Germany’s level implied the US would drop its defense expenditures from over 4 percent of GDP by some 75 percent, which I don’t think he meant”, Bolton argued.
“Trump would later come to say he thought that, in truth, the US paid 100 percent of the cost of NATO. The source of that figure is also unknown”, the ex-advisor added.
Very Low Regard for EU’s Jean Claude Juncker and Accusations Against Macron
According to the book, Trump also had some strong words not only against the alliance itself, which Bolton says he was “very unhappy with”, but against then-president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, calling him a “vicious man who hated the United States desperately”. Bolton suggests that for Trump, it was Juncker who was setting the NATO budget.
During the same ill-fated NATO 2018 Summit Trump also accused French president Emmanuel Macron of “always leaking their conversations”. The claim, Bolton says, Macron denied, while “smiling broadly”.
“Trump smiled too, looking at Mattis [Former US Secretary of Defense] as if to imply he knew whence came the leaks on the US side”, Bolton argued.
Worries Over Trump’s Meeting With Putin
The former national security advisor also opened up about his concerns over Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s one-on-one meeting during the 2018 summit in Helsinki, which, he said, was “sweated out” by him and the president’s other key staffers. Bolton acknowledged that he was not willing to leave Trump alone with his Russian counterpart, as he was apparently worried about what the American president was going to say when not surrounded by his aides. Following the meeting, however, Bolton acknowledged that he was “relieved”.
“The key point was there were no agreements on anything, no concessions, no real change in substantive foreign policy. I was delighted”, he wrote.
Invasion of Venezuela
Donald Trump has already slammed his former staffer Bolton for releasing “classified information” with his upcoming book, by referring to the former national security advisor as “wacko” and “a liar”.