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Former national security adviser John Bolton on stage at Duke University on Monday. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said during a talk at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, he hopes his new book is "not suppressed" by the White House, according to journalists present in the room.

This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We'll have to see what comes out of the censorship."
— JohnBolton's comments, per Bloomberg and the New York Times

Why it matters: This is the first time Bolton has spoken publicly following President Trump's acquittal in the Senate on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

  • Per Axios' Jonathan Swan, Bolton alleges in his book that the president tied the freezing of $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine to demands for investigations into his political opponent former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump strongly denies the claim.

The big picture: Bolton and his lawyers have clashed with the White House over the contents of his book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," due to be published on March 17.

  • The White House has said that Bolton's manuscript contains "significant amounts of classified information" that could "cause exceptionally grave harm" to U.S. national security. Bolton rejects this assertion.

What they're saying: During their discussion, Duke University professor Peter Feaver asked Bolton about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which was at the heart Trump's impeachment and Senate trial, according to the News & Observer, which had a reporter present at the event where audio and livestreaming were not permitted.

  • Per journalists present, Bolton said, "To me, there are portions of the manuscript that deal with Ukraine. ... I view them like the sprinkles on the ice cream sundae, meaning in terms of what’s in the book."
  • When asked if Trump's call with Zelensky was as "perfect" as the president described, Bolton replied, "You'll love chapter 14," the News & Observer noted.
  • Bolton said he couldn't answer some questions because of the "threat of litigation from the executive branch," the News & Observer noted.
  • Feaver also asked Bolton about Trump's tweets about him since he left the White House last September, "including on their disagreement over Venezuela policy," according to the Wall Street Journal, which had a reporter at the event.
  • Per journalists present, Bolton pointed to the White House review of his manuscript and said, "He tweets, but I can't talk about it. How fair is that?"
  • Axios has contacted the White House for comment on Bolton's latest remarks.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.