Bolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration

Bolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration
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White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump job approval slips 2 points in Gallup poll Washington indecision compounded the Kurds' dilemma US Ambassador Sondland says Trump directed officials to work with Giuliani on Ukraine MORE on Tuesday downplayed disagreements between President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE and his top aides and suggested Russia, China, Iran and others are attempting to spread disinformation about the administration's inner workings.

Bolton sat for an interview at The Wall Street Journal's CFO Network event, where moderator John Bussey noted Trump contradicted his advisers' views on North Korea and Iran in recent weeks.

Bolton initially skirted a question about whether the disconnect signaled instability to allies and adversaries, instead pointing to a potential source for the narrative.

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"We have substantial reason to believe that North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Russia and China have made a decision to — and you can see it publicly — to try to sow disinformation about the administration," Bolton said. "And to say that the president and his advisers are divided, things like that."

Bolton pointed to comments from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif last month in which he suggested Trump was being goaded into a confrontation with Iran by a "B team" of advisers.

He offered no further evidence, but accused the U.S. press corps of being "stenographers of these regimes" in spreading stories about administrative discord.

"That’s unfair," Bussey interjected.

"Not it’s not, actually," Bolton said, citing a New York Times report that he claimed overemphasized his absence at a recent state dinner in Japan.

He asserted there's "no discombobulation at all" and that disagreements within administrations are common in most governments.

The Trump administration has been dogged by persistent examples of Trump undercutting his own advisers' public comments dating back to the early days of the administration.

Trump broke with Bolton during last month's visit to Japan when the president said he was not bothered by recent missile testing conducted by North Korea. Bolton and U.S. allies had said the tests violated a United Nations Security Council resolution.

The president has also sounded a more optimistic note than Bolton on Iran, saying repeatedly in recent weeks that he believes Tehran will be willing to negotiate a new nuclear accord. Bolton has previously advocated for regime change in Iran.

In other instances, the president publicly differed with former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump sends nomination for Russia ambassador to Senate Democrats eye Pompeo testimony On The Money: IMF estimates US-China trade war to shave 0.8 percent from global economy | NY prosecutors urge appeals court not to block Trump tax subpoena | Turkish bank linked to Giuliani client charged with fraud, money laundering MORE on diplomacy toward North Korea, and he contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies in saying he took Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinCongress plays party politics regarding Syria and Saudis Pelosi, Schumer hit 'flailing' Trump over 'sham ceasefire' deal Pompeo to meet Netanyahu as US alliances questioned MORE's denials of Russian election interference.