OK, the stories leaking out of the Bolton Book are juicy, if true. But everything we wrote last night stands.
Axios morning email thingie leads:
John Bolton’s brutal memoir about his 17 months in the White House portrays President Trump as an easy mark for dictators and others who know how easily he falls for flattery.
- Why it matters: There has never been — and may never be — another book like this. Trump’s national security adviser took hyper-detailed, real-time notes, and is sharing them with the world just nine months after leaving.
But Bolton did NOT share them, even when subpoena’ed by Congress during the impeachment hearing and trial. Bolton confirms the key findings of the impeachment investigation, and writes,
“I am hard pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations.”
The Justice Department last night asked a federal judge for an emergency temporary restraining order against publication of “The Room Where It Happened,” scheduled for next Tuesday.
And they love you, buddy. But I interrupted.
The most damaging revelations concern the president’s efforts to cozy up to Chinese President Xi Jinping— revealed during an election season when Trump wants to portray himself as tough on China and Biden as a patsy.
- Bolton said Trump gave Xi the green light to build concentration camps in Xinjiang, and “stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat” to his own re-election.
Handsome Joe Biden last night:
“[M]y message to China’s leaders, or anyone else who President Trump might invite to interfere: … Stay out of our elections.”
Not to be left out, Politico’s morning email thingie:
THE NEW YORK TIMES (Peter Baker, A1, two-column lead), THE WASHINGTON POST (Josh Dawsey, A1, four columns across the top) and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (John Bolton on the Op-Ed page; and Mike Bender and Rebecca Ballhaus on A1, four columns, middle of the page)are all carrying various leaks of JOHN BOLTON’S “The Room Where it Happened,” a book whose release might or might not happen, depending what a judge decides in the coming days.
WE THOUGHT it might be useful to catalogue what BOLTON is claiming in list form, culled from the excellent accounts in the POST, NYT and WSJ:
— PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP asked Chinese President XI JINPING to buy ag products to help him win reelection. “He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,” BOLTON writes.
— TRUMP seemingly thought it was OK for China to build concentration camps to house 1 million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, and told that to XI. He also told the Chinese leader that Americans want to change the Constitution to have him serve more than two terms.
I’m not shocked by that, per se, he had been “joking” about that since the impeachment investigation started, claiming he was owed a “do-over” for lost time.
— TRUMP was unsure if Finland was part of Russia (it is not). He also did not know that the United Kingdom was a nuclear power (it is).
— VLADIMIR PUTIN compared JUAN GUAIDÓ to HILLARY CLINTON in an apparent bid to boost Venezuelan strongman NICOLÁS MADURO in TRUMP’S eyes. TRUMP thought Guaidó was kid-like compared to MADURO. TRUMP also suggested war in Venezuela would be “cool.”
— TRUMP signaled to Turkish President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN that he would intervene in a case against a Turkish firm once the DOJ’s Southern District of New York was filled with his allies. Brett McGurk said Erdoğan tried that with Joe Biden and Biden said no.
— SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO slipped BOLTON a note during negotiations with North Korea, saying the president was “so full of shit.” He later said there was “zero probability of success” in negotiating with North Korea. POMPEO listened in to a call between TRUMP and the South Koreans, and toldBOLTON that he was “having a cardiac arrest in Saudi Arabia.” BOLTON said the call was a “near death experience.”
— TRUMP was fixated on getting a copy of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” to KIM JONG UN.
— THE PRESIDENT tweeted his defense of the Saudis in the Jamal Khashoggi incident because he thought it would distract from IVANKA TRUMP using a private email server.
— BOLTON, JOHN KELLY and POMPEO all considered resigning.
— TRUMP said he thought journalists should be jailed, and executed.
— TRUMP told BOLTON that REX TILLERSON described NIKKI HALEY by what the NYT’s BAKER calls a “sexist obscenity.”
— BOLTON, POMPEO and Defense Secretary MARK ESPER tried to get TRUMP to release aid to Ukraine between eight and 10 times.
— TRUMP thought having JARED KUSHNER deal with Mexico was the only way to stop the “caravans.”
OK, so two things: A) many of these stories, if true, would be grounds for impeachment and 2) Bolton is clearly not a patriot and is doing this for profit. And if I can add a tangential iii) this is indeed the start of his re-hab. Bolton is the catnip that the Villagers are rolling in. Our Failed Political Press is nothing if not predictable.
Read the excerpts, but don’t give Bolton a dime.
UPDATE 1: The Reviews are in! Lord Damp Nut says,
“Bolton’s book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad. Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction. Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!”