Bolton claims Trump called journalists 'scumbags' who should be 'executed'

Former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonDiplomacy with China is good for America The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep DOJ launches probe into Bolton book for possible classified information disclosures MORE claims in his forthcoming memoir that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE called journalists "scumbags" who should be “executed.”

Bolton said Trump made the comments during a meeting last summer in New Jersey, according to a copy of Bolton's book obtained by The Hill.

During the meeting, Trump said journalists should be jailed so they would have to expose their sources, Bolton wrote.

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“These people should be executed. They are scumbags,” Trump said, according to Bolton's account chronicled in the memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.”

Trump ousted Bolton, his third national security adviser, in September over disagreements on foreign policy.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment about the claim in Bolton's book.

The Trump administration filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block publication of Bolton's book, which Justice Department lawyers have claimed still contains classified information even after redactions the publisher made at the White House’s request.

Bolton’s team has said the book will still be published next Tuesday.

Trump has a historically combative relationship with the news media, lashing out at individual reporters at press briefings and often claiming that reports that are critical of his time in office are "fake news." 

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Meanwhile, the White House earlier this year resumed regular press briefings under its new press secretary.

In his book, Bolton also claims that Trump committed impeachable offenses that House Democrats never investigated, such as allegedly trying to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to buy large amounts of agricultural products to improve his reelection prospects in agricultural states.

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” Bolton wrote.