In a withering behind-the-scenes portrayal, U.S. 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 did not immediately respond to a request for comment 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.
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.
“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.
Critics of Bolton note he declined to testify before the House inquiry when his disclosures could have been critical, adhering instead to White House guidance.
Representative Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who led the prosecution of Republican Trump, slammed Bolton for saying at the time that “he’d sue if subpoenaed.”
“Instead, he saved it for a book,” Schiff said on Twitter. “Bolton may be an author, but he’s no patriot.”
Still, Bolton’s allegations provide new ammunition to critics ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, including his behind-the-scenes accounts of Trump’s conversations with China’s Xi – which, in one case, broached the topic of the U.S. vote.
“Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton wrote.
“He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,” said Bolton in the most in-depth, damaging portrayal by a Trump administration insider to date and just days after former defense secretary Jim Mattis accused the president of trying to divide America.