'Driven by re-election': John Bolton book accuses Donald Trump of seeking foreign help for political gain
President Donald Trump says a claim by former national security adviser John Bolton that Trump wanted to withhold security aid from Ukraine until it helped secure investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden is patently "false." (Jan. 27) AP Domestic
WASHINGTON – During a meeting last year, President Donald Trump turned to Chinese President Xi Jinping and asked for an important favor: China should increase its purchase of American soybeans and wheat because aiding American farmers would help him win the upcoming 2020 election, according to excerpts of a new book by Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.
The request, made during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, is laid out in Bolton's forthcoming book, "The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir," according to an excerpt published by the Wall Street Journal. In it, the former adviser paints the president as someone consumed with winning a second term and willing to pressure, cajole and plead with foreign powers to aid his quest.
"Trump’s conversations with Xi reflected not only the incoherence in his trade policy but also the confluence in Trump’s mind of his own political interests and U.S. national interests," Bolton writes according to an excerpt published in the Wall street Journal. "Trump commingled the personal and the national not just on trade questions but across the whole field of national security."
Bolton's book, set for a June 23 release, is expected to detail other pressure campaigns on foreign governments beyond China and Ukraine, where the president's efforts to pressure the East European government to publicly investigate former vice president – and now presumptive general election opponent – Joe Biden led to Trump's impeachment last year, according to a book preview released last week by Bolton's publisher, Simon & Schuster.
"I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations," Bolton writes in the book.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the former national security adviser from publishing his long expected memoir.
The move came a day after Trump dismissed Bolton's forthcoming book as "highly inappropriate" and said it would be a "criminal problem" if published.
"This book is full of classified information, which is inexcusable," White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday, hours before the excerpts were published. "Former national security adviser John Bolton should know all too well that it's unacceptable to have highly classified information from the government of the United States in a book that will be published."
White House officials did not immediately respond to the specific allegation that Trump raised his own reelection in a trade discussion with Xi. The president fired back in a series of interviews Wednesday, telling the Wall Street Journal that Bolton is a "liar" who everybody in the White House "hated." He told Fox News in a late interview that Bolton was a "washed up guy" who "broke the law."
Several media organizations, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal obtained the book and have published stories on it.
Among the observations Bolton makes in the book is that Trump did not seem to know Britain is a nuclear power and asked if Finland is part of Russia, according to The New York Times.
Bolton also writes that the president, who has clashed with the media that he often calls "Fake News," told him reporters should be in prison .
"These people should be executed. They are scumbags," according to The Washington Post.
Guy Snodgrass, who served as chief speechwriter to Trump's Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, tweeted Wednesday that he "can confirm" the president shared similar feeling with the Pentagon.
Bolton, national security adviser from April 2018 until he was pushed out in September 2019, was a central figure in the Senate impeachment trial of Trump earlier this year following the House's decision to forward two charges to the Senate for consideration: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress
After Bolton didn't appear voluntarily before a House impeachment hearing in November, his lawyer, Charles Cooper, told the investigating committees that his client was "personally involved" in meetings relevant to the inquiry into whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine for political reasons.
News outlets reported at the time that a manuscript for Bolton's upcoming book says Trump explicitly told Bolton he did not want to release the aid until Ukraine helped with investigations related to the 2016 election and Democrats, including Biden, a political rival.
Bolton never testified and the president was acquitted on both charges by the Senate on a largely party-line vote.
Biden issued a statement Wednesday saying Trump "sold out the American people to protect his political future" in his dealings with China that Bolton outlined.
"He was willing to trade away our most cherished democratic values for the empty promise of a flimsy trade deal that bailed him out of his disastrous tariff war that did so much damage to our farmers, manufacturers, and consumers," Biden said.
Bolton aims his pen at Democrats as well, scolding them for being "so obsessed with their Ukraine blitzkrieg," they missed a larger opportunity to put the president on trial for a raft of misconduct that stretched across his entire foreign policy, according to the excerpts.