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 Robert BoltonTrump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan Live-action 'Mulan' star spurs calls for boycott with support of Hong Kong police A US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account MORE on Tuesday downplayed disagreements between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? 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 TillersonScaramucci breaks up with Trump in now-familiar pattern Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank MORE on diplomacy toward North Korea, and he contradicted U.S. intelligence agencies in saying he took Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Trump's winning weapon: Time Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE's denials of Russian election interference.