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Bolton Book describes a President out of his depth

Even as the White House has gone to court to try to block publication of the memoir of former National Security Advisor John Bolton, the New York Times has obtained the book and is publishing excerpts. Bolton describes episodes where the president sought to halt criminal inquiries. He also says President Trump’s loyalists mocked him behind his back. He said the House in its impeachment inquiry should have investigated President Trump not just for pressuring Ukraine to incriminate his domestic foes but for a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons.

Mr. Bolton says Trump was willing to halt criminal investigations, especially investigations into foreign companies in order to curry favour with foreign dictators in Turkey and China. He says Trump begged President Xi Jinping to buy more US soybeans and wheat in order to bolster Trump’s election chances in farm states.

The Times describes Bolton’s book as “a withering portrait of a president ignorant of even basic facts about the world, susceptible to transparent flattery by authoritarian leaders manipulating him and prone to false statements, foul-mouthed eruptions and snap decisions that aides try to manage or reverse.”

Other revelations:

  • Trump did not appear to know that Britain was a nuclear power
  • He asked if Finland was part of Russia
  • Intelligence briefings were a waste of time with Trump talking and never listening
  • Even staff loyalists mock Trump behind his back
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, describing Trumps performance in North Korea, said “He’s so full of shit’”

“His thinking was like an archipelago of dots (like individual real estate deals), leaving the rest of us to discern — or create — policy,” Mr. Bolton writes. “That had its pros and cons.”

The Times describes Bolton as “a complicated, controversial figure. A former official under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush who rose to United Nations ambassador, he has been one of the most vocal advocates for a hard-line foreign policy, a supporter of the Iraq war who has favored possible military action against rogue states like North Korea and Iran.”

Like Mr. Tillerson and other officials who went to work for Mr. Trump believing they could manage him, Mr. Bolton agreed to become the president’s third national security adviser in 2018 hoping to use his 17 months in the White House to accomplish policy goals that were important to him, like withdrawing the United States from a host of international agreements he considers flawed, like the Iran nuclear accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and others. But he eventually resigned last September — Mr. Trump claimed he fired him — after they clashed over Iran, North Korea, Ukraine and a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bolton’s book deal is reportedly worth $2 Million.

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