23:05 GMT21 February 2020
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    The US secretary of state and treasury secretary were among the first top White House officials who spoke out following the shocking announcement that National Security Adviser John Bolton was leaving the White House. Although their briefing was supposed to focus on new sanctions they were hardly the top theme.

    One of the White House reporters was caught branding the press briefing by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a “s**tshow”. The two key officials in the Trump administration, who were to speak about new sanctions against individuals allegedly tied to terrorism, were bombarded with questions about National Security Advisor John Bolton’s dismissal as the shocking announcement came right before the conference.

    As Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin were leaving the room, a live microphone reportedly caught one of the journalists summing up his feeling about the briefing, saying “God almighty. That's a s**tshow”.

    ​According to Mediaite, it was Washington Post WH correspondent Josh Dawsey who made the crude remark. He might be not alone in his disappointment, as his colleagues in the briefing room complained it was badly organised and the speakers were difficult to hear, Fox News points out.

    Donald Trump’s persistent opponent, CNN's Jim Acosta also did not beat around the bush, asking “Is the national security team a mess?” over Bolton’s resignation. In response, Mnuchin blurted out “That’s the most ridiculous question I’ve ever heard”.

    For his part, Pompeo defended the decision, saying that “The president is entitled to the staff he wants”. However, he deflected a question about whether Bolton’s departure had been prompted by disagreements between him and the president over the planned Taliban peace talks.

    The two cabinet secretaries were forced to comment on Bolton’s leaving as their briefing on new sanctions to counter terrorism took place less than two hours after the US president took to Twitter to announce that John Bolton had handed in his resignation. According to Donald Trump, he told his aide that his “services are no longer needed”, admitting that he had disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions. Bolton later stated that he himself had offered to resign.


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