Jun 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bolton's revenge

John Bolton
Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Early details are here from the John Bolton book that President Trump's legal threats are sending to the top of the bestseller lists.

The big picture: Bolton claims Trump asked China to help him win in 2020. He also throws his former colleagues under the bus and taunts Democrats for committing “impeachment malpractice.”

  • Bolton had a reputation as a prolific note taker, filling yellow legal pad after yellow legal pad with notes.

Highlights from a copy obtained by the N.Y. Times' Peter Baker:

  • Impeachment: Bolton says Democrats failed by focusing the probe on Ukraine rather than on other cases involving China and Turkey.
  • Gossip: Bolton alleges Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slipped him a note calling Trump "full of shit" during a 2018 meeting with Kim Jong-un.
  • Trump gaffes: Bolton alleges Trump didn't know the U.K. was a nuclear power and claims Trump asked if Finland was part of Russia.
  • Journalists: Bolton alleges Trump privately told him reporters deserve prison. "These people should be executed. They are scumbags."

Bolton's own words, via an excerpt published in the WSJ:

  • "Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. 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."
  • "I would print Trump’s exact words, but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise."
  • "At the opening dinner of the Osaka G-20 meeting in June 2019, with only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang. According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do."
  • "One of Trump’s favorite comparisons was to point to the tip of one of his Sharpies and say, 'This is Taiwan,' then point to the historic Resolute desk in the Oval Office and say, 'This is China.'”

Between the lines: House intel chair Adam Schiff, who led the Democratic impeachment probe, tweeted his commentary on the book: "When Bolton was asked, he refused, and said he’d sue if subpoenaed. Instead, he saved it for a book. Bolton may be an author, but he’s no patriot."

The bottom line: Bolton's book is scheduled to go public on June 23. The House impeachment vote was on Dec. 18.

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