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John Bolton in Singapore in 2018 for the Trump-Kim summit. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

John Bolton made clear Monday just how deeply he disagrees with President Trump's North Korea policy — just 20 days after he was ousted as the president's national security adviser.

Why it matters: Bolton said he was glad to be able to give his views "in unvarnished terms." If he continues to do so on a broader range of topics, Bolton could be one of Trump's most damaging foreign policy critics.

  • He did say, though, that he has a "self-imposed restriction" on discussing specifics from his time in the White House.

Bolton told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that North Korea was and would continue to be committed to keeping and expanding its nuclear weapons program, rendering Trump’s summit-based strategy pointless.

  • He contended North Korea wouldn’t "ever voluntarily give up enough" in negotiations, and said the U.S. should consider a military option. He cited regime change as one potential outcome.
  • He also raised the "Libya model" of denuclearization — a comparison that outraged North Korea and, as a result, Trump when he referenced it while serving in the White House. Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled a decade after giving up his nuclear program.

On his personal impressions of Kim Jong-un, Bolton said: "I think it's clear he’s in charge. I think it's clear he makes the decisions. And I think he feels very comfortable in that role."

  • Bolton said he was sure "the leadership of North Korea is delighted I'm here today in a private capacity," rather than in the White House.

The big picture: Bolton argued that the U.S. should be more deeply engaged around the world and must strengthen ties with allies — views that runs contrary to Trump's.

Go deeper: Bolton's chaotic White House departure

Go deeper

28 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."