VLADIMIR PUTIN thinks he can play Donald Trump ‘like a fiddle’, a former US national security adviser has claimed.
John Bolton, who has written a tell-all book about his time in the White House called The Room Where It Happened, says the American president is ‘incompetent’ and ‘unfit for office’.
In an excerpt from an interview with ABC News scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday, Mr Bolton said: ‘I think Putin is smart, tough. I think he sees he’s not faced with a serious adversary here. I don’t think he’s worried about Donald Trump.’
He said of his former boss: ‘I don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t think he has the competence to carry out the job. There really isn’t any guiding principle that I was able to discern, other than what’s good for Donald Trump’s re-election.’
In his book, Mr Bolton claims that the president was unaware the UK was a nuclear power, thought Finland was part of Russia and backed China’s construction of concentration camps for Muslims.
He also sought help from China’s leader Xi Jinping to get re-elected. Mr Bolton recounted a meeting between Mr Trump and the Chinese president in Osaka, Japan, writing: ‘He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.’
He added: ‘He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.’ Mr Bolton claimed Mr Trump ‘saw conspiracies behind rocks, and remained stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House, let alone the huge federal government’.
He added that his former boss typically had only two intelligence briefings a week ‘and in most of those, he spoke at greater length than the briefers, often on matters completely unrelated to the subjects at hand’.
The White House has launched legal action to prevent the book’s publication and Mr Trump has reacted with fury to the excerpts, accusing Mr Bolton of releasing classified information.
He tweeted: ‘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!’
Mr Bolton, who quit as security adviser last year, refused to testify in the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry and threatened to sue if subpoenaed, but he offered to testify in the subsequent Senate trial. The Republican-controlled Senate did not take Mr Bolton up on his offer. Democrats were angry that Mr Bolton saved his revelations for a book, rather than participate in the probe.
Adam Schiff, who led the impeachment inquiry, accused Mr Bolton of being ‘unpatriotic’ for withholding information. ‘We will continue to hold Trump accountable, and work to expose his abuses and corruption,’ he said.