Bolton’s new memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” is due to hit shelves next Tuesday. It’s just the latest in a slew of books by former members of the Trump administration packed full of scandalous anecdotes and exposes.
According to several major news organizations that were mailed advance copies of the memoir, Bolton joins other administration alumni in airing more than a little bit of 45’s dirty laundry.
According to the Washington Post, Bolton claims that Trump sought help from Chinese President Xi Jinping with his 2020 reelection campaign. Bolton wrote that he would have liked to “print Trump’s exact words, but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”
In another instance, Bolton says that Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May 2018 that he would “take care of things” regarding a US federal investigation of a Turkish firm for having allegedly violated US sanctions against Iran.
The former security adviser also notes some embarrassing international flops by Trump, such as him reportedly asking then-White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly if Finland was part of Russia - it hasn’t been since 1918 - and him being surprised to learn the United Kingdom has nuclear weapons.
Bolton says he went to Attorney General William Barr with his concerns about Trump’s behavior, claiming Barr agreed with his concerns about the damage to the president’s image. Bolton also claims he, Kelly and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo all considered resigning in disgust or frustration after it was revealed that Trump had, in fact, held up military aid to Ukraine in 2019, which was the basis of his subsequent impeachment for abuse of power.
The former adviser names a litany of shocking statements made by Trump, from quipping it would be “cool” if the US invaded Venezuela and that he believed it was “really part of the United States,” to mixing up former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the present leader, Ashraf Ghani, and ranting about the 1941 Battle of Pearl Harbor during trade negotiations with Japanese officials.
Trump also allegedly called journalists that refuse to divulge their sources “scumbags” who “should be executed.”
Some of the book’s revelations are more mundane, such as that intelligence briefings were largely a waste of time “since much of the time was spent listening to Trump, rather than Trump listening to the briefers,” Bolton wrote, according to the New York Times.
“His thinking was like an archipelago of dots (like individual real estate deals), leaving the rest of us to discern - or create - policy,” Bolton said about Trump’s articulation of his overarching philosophy for governance. “That had its pros and cons.”
Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 until September 2019, when he was fired amid increasing disagreement between him and the president over several international issues, also refused to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in November 2019 as lawmakers investigated the Ukraine scandal. However, he later said he would testify in the Senate impeachment trial itself.
When that trial came, though, Bolton instead let it be known that his upcoming book contained juicy details about Trump’s foreign policy scandals, including the one that led to his impeachment, with the White House saying he could not publish the book until after the National Security Council (NSC) was satisfied that all sensitive and classified material had been removed from the manuscript.
Simon & Schuster says in a statement the DOJ lawsuit against @AmbJohnBolton “is nothing more than the latest in a long running series of efforts by the Administration to quash publication of a book it deems unflattering to the President.” pic.twitter.com/YRCiMBk6RC— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) June 16, 2020
The Department of Justice filed a new lawsuit on Monday attempting to block the book’s publication. Bolton’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, defended its client in a statement posted on Twitter, saying the lawsuit was “nothing more than the latest in a long running series of efforts by the Administration to quash publication of a book it deems unflattering to the President.”
“Ambassador Bolton has worked in full cooperation with the NSC in its pre-publication review to address its concerns and Simon & Schuster fully supports his First Amendment right to tell the story of his time in the White House to the American public,” the publisher said.