Jun 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

John Bolton: Putin thinks he can play Trump "like a fiddle"

Trump and Putin

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said in an excerpt of an upcoming interview with ABC's "This Week" Wednesday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks he can play President Trump "like a fiddle," adding: "I think he sees that he's not faced with a serious adversary here."

Why it matters: This is the first on-camera interview that features Bolton since explosive excerpts from his tell-all memoir were published on Wednesday. Bolton alleges — among other things — that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help with his re-election.

What they're saying:

RADDATZ: "How would you describe Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin?”
BOLTON: “I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle. I think Putin is smart, tough. I think he sees that he's not faced with a serious adversary here. I don't think he's worried about Donald Trump.
RADDATZ: "Donald Trump, as we say, sees himself as a deal maker. What happened in the deal maker situations?
BOLTON: "Well, the president may well be a superb deal maker when it comes to Manhattan real estate. Dealing with arms limitation treaties on strategic weapons, dealing with many, many other international security issues are things far removed from his life experience. When you're dealing with someone like Putin, who has made his life understanding Russia's strategic position in the world, against Donald Trump, who doesn't enjoy reading about these issues or learning about them, it's a very difficult position for America to be in."

Go deeper: Highlights from the excerpts of John Bolton's book

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