In a withering behind-the-scenes portrayal, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton accused him of sweeping misdeeds that included explicitly seeking Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win re-election.
Bolton, a longtime foreign policy hawk who Trump fired in September over policy differences, also said that the U.S. president had expressed a willingness to halt criminal investigations to give “personal favors to dictators he liked,” according to a book excerpt published in the New York Times.
The White House attacked Bolton but did not comment directly on excerpts from “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” published on Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The accusations are part of a book that the U.S. government on Tuesday sued to block Bolton from publishing, arguing it contained classified information and would compromise national security.
The government is seeking a court hearing on Friday. Together, they portray a U.S. president mocked by his top advisers who exposed himself to far more extensive accusations of impropriety than those that drove the Democratic-led House of Representatives to impeach Trump last year.
The Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump in early February. Trump was accused of withholding U.S. military aid last year to put pressure on newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to provide damaging information on Democratic political opponent Joe Biden.
“Had Democratic impeachment advocates not been so obsessed with their Ukraine blitzkrieg in 2019, had they taken the time to inquire more systematically about Trump’s behavior across his entire foreign policy, the impeachment outcome might well have been different,” Bolton wrote, according to excerpts of his book published in the Wall Street Journal.
Although Trump is publicly critical of journalists, Bolton’s book quotes the U.S. president making some of his most alarming remarks to date. In a summer 2019 meeting in New Jersey, Trump allegedly said journalists should be jailed so they have to divulge their sources: “These people should be executed. They are scumbags,” according to another excerpt in the Post.