Bolton: Putin thinks ‘he can play’ Trump like a ‘fiddle’

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Former national security adviser John Bolton said in an interview to promote his new memoir that has rocked Washington that Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks he “can play” President Trump like a “fiddle.”

Asked by ABC’s Martha Raddatz about Trump’s relationship with Putin, Bolton said that he doesn’t think the Russian leader is “worried” about Trump. 

“I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle,” said Bolton, who resigned from his position in the administration last September. “I think Putin is smart, tough, I think he sees that he’s not faced with a serious adversary here.”

Bolton made the comments in an interview that ABC News shared an excerpt of Wednesday evening, just hours after a number of excerpts from the former Trump administration official’s book surfaced.

The book, which is set to be released on Tuesday, describes Trump as “stunningly uninformed” on a range of international issues and claims that the president has committed multiple impeachable offenses. 

Bolton, in the ABC interview, went on to say that Trump may be a “superb dealmaker” when it comes to real estate in the Manhattan area. However, Bolton argued that international security issues were far removed from his personal experience before entering the White House. 

“Dealing with arms limitation treaties on strategic weapons, dealing in many, many other international security issues are things far removed from his life experience,” Bolton said. 

“When you’re dealing with someone like Putin who has made his life understanding Russia’s strategic position in the world against Donald Trump, who doesn’t enjoy reading about these issues or learning about them, it’s a very difficult position for America to be in,” he added. 

Bolton’s book, “The Room Where it Happened,” has been met with fierce opposition from the president. He dismissed the former national security adviser as “washed up” and a “liar” on Wednesday after revelations of the text surfaced. The Justice Department has also asked a judge to temporarily block the release of the book, claiming that it still contains classified information. 

Among other things, Bolton’s book makes the claim that Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to assist his 2020 reelection efforts. Bolton also said that Trump displayed a lack of knowledge about Nordic countries, noting that the president at one point questioned aloud whether Finland was “kind of a satellite of Russia.”

The episode came as the U.S. government debated where to hold Trump’s first meeting with the Russian president. The meeting was held in Helsinki in 2018. 

“Whatever they [the Russians] want. Tell them we’ll do whatever they want,” Trump said, according to Bolton.

Tags Bolton book Donald Trump Foreign policy John Bolton Russia Vladimir Putin

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