Evan Vucci / AP

Ambassador John Bolton, a Trump ally who has been considered for top national security posts in the administration, says he now needs to resort to publishing advice in the National Review because he can't get in to see the president under the regime of new Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Bolton published today what he described as a "game plan" for Trump to exit the Iran nuclear deal struck by President Obama.

Along with the 5 page memo, Bolton wrote these eye-popping lines:

Many outside the administration wondered how this was possible: Was Trump in control, or were his advisers? Defining a compelling rationale to exit Obama's failed nuclear deal and elaborating a game plan to do so are quite easy. In fact, Steve Bannon asked me in late July to draw up just such a game plan for the president — the option he didn't have — which I did.I offer the Iran nonpaper now as a public service, since staff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible. Although he was once kind enough to tell me "come in and see me any time," those days are now over.

I called Bolton this afternoon to ask him about his comments. He said that he requested a meeting with the president "through the correct channels" but the request was denied. Bolton wouldn't elaborate further.

Why this matters: The new strict system imposed by John Kelly will work until close allies can't get through to the president. If Trump begins to feel cut off from people he once spoke to often, he could buck against the new order.

Counterpoint: Based on information they've been receiving from the intelligence community, White House officials are expected to consider Bolton's advice as simplistic and unhelpful. The reason they say they've advised President Trump to re-certify the Iran nuclear deal even though he doesn't want to is because they say the intelligence community doesn't have the evidence required to prove Iran has been noncompliant. Also, it's unlikely that any of Trump's top national security and foreign policy advisers will buy into Bolton's idea that you can rally the international community behind a U.S. withdrawal from the deal.

Bolton's retort is that the current line of thinking will inevitably lead to Iran developing nuclear weapons. Bolton has readily admitted that U.S. or Israeli military action may be the only way to ultimately prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 19,511,596 — Total deaths: 724,590 — Total recoveries — 11,876,387Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 4,995,369 — Total deaths: 162,461 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats slam Trump, urge GOP to return to negotiations
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

10 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.