WASHINGTON: Defying the White House, former national security advisor John Bolton will release a book that suggests President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses beyond Ukraine and alleges that his entire foreign policy is motivated by domestic politics, his publisher said Friday. Trump earlier this year warned Bolton not to publish his book while the president is still in the White House, whose lawyers have contended that large portions of the material in the memoir are classified.
But publisher Simon and Schuster said it would go ahead and release “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” on June 23, teasing in a press release: “This is the book Donald Trump doesn’t want you to read.” “I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” Bolton writes in the book, according to the release. The publisher said that Bolton will document wrongdoing by Trump that goes beyond his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden – which triggered Trump’s impeachment by the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
Bolton “argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy,” the publisher said. Bolton will describe Trump’s “inconsistent, scattershot decision-making process,” it said. Bolton, a veteran Republican policymaker known for his hawkish views, left in September after disagreeing with Trump’s diplomatic outreach to adversaries, notably North Korea and Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Denunciations of Bolton
The memoir renewed questions on why Bolton, if he believed Trump had committed such serious offenses, did not testify as part of his impeachment and instead waited to sell his book. “John Bolton is an example of a purported public servant who not only put party over country, he put his own profits over country. Despicable,” Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat and vocal advocate for Trump’s impeachment, wrote on Twitter. Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics who clashed with the Trump administration, urged a boycott of Bolton’s book, saying that buying it “amounts to supporting a shirker who betrayed his country by refusing to fulfill his duty to testify before Congress.”
Bolton, who favors a tough line on Russia, is known to have opposed the White House’s freeze on $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as it battled separatists backed by Moscow, privately accusing Trump’s camp of a “drug deal.” Trump in a phone call had pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Biden over the former vice president’s son’s business dealings in the country. Trump has called the impeachment a conspiracy against him, contending his effort on Ukraine was in the larger US interest.
Bolton, 71, has long been a controversial player in Washington, with former president George W. Bush bypassing the Senate to appoint him ambassador to the United Nations. An unapologetic campaigner for the Iraq war who has mused about bombing Iran and North Korea, the mustachioed, Yale-educated lawyer initially seemed an unlikely match for the domestic-focused Trump, but the television-loving president was drawn by Bolton’s commentary on Fox News. Bolton has been unusually restrained in public comments since leaving the White House but a leak from his book roiled the impeachment trial. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, where Trump was acquitted, said at the time that Bolton’s testimony could help persuade wavering Republicans. —AFP