Mar 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Bolton says Trump made it "that much easier" for Putin to invade Ukraine

John Bolton. Photo: Yuri Oreshkin\TASS via Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said in an interview with Newsmax on Tuesday that it's inaccurate to say that former President Trump's behavior "deterred the Russians."

What they're saying: Newsmax's Rob Schmitt said Russia did not act aggressively until Trump was out of office and that the former president was "pretty tough against Russia in a lot of ways."

  • But Trump's national security adviser Bolton pushed back, saying "in almost every case, the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard."
  • He also noted that the former president did not sanction Nord Stream 2 which his administration "should have," and that Trump "barely knew where Ukraine was."

The big picture: Bolton said in an interview with Vice that Trump made it "that much easier" for Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine by spreading conspiracy theories during the 2020 elections about the Democratic National Committee servers and Hunter Biden profiting in Ukraine.

  • "It all stems from this Trump obsession ... that really made sensible conversation about bilateral U.S.-Ukraine issues very, very difficult," Bolton said.
  • "To the extent that there was an unnatural environment created, it made it that much easier for Putin."

Worth noting: Bolton also said that Trump's praising Putin for being "very savvy" was "embarrassing" for the U.S.

  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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