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Bolton: Trump's Pentagon shakeup 'destructive'

Former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE said Sunday that the firing and resignations of several top Pentagon officials in the days following President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE's loss to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE in the 2020 election was "destructive" and would hamstring not only Biden's administration but Trump's as well.

In an interview with ABC's "This Week," the former Trump aide who has become a top critic of the president in recent months sounded off on the firing of Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition Brennan takes final shot at Trump: 'I leave his fate to our judicial system, his infamy to history, & his legacy to a trash heap' MORE and the replacement of a number of top Defense Department officials.

"[I]t's destructive. I mean, when you decapitate the office of the Secretary of Defense with less than ten weeks to go in the administration, really it’s...it's very damaging, not just for the current administration, but for the incoming administration as well," said Bolton.

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The comments come as Democratic critics of the president have reacted with confusion and alarm to the president's shakeup of top Pentagon officials beginning just days after the election, while speculation has swirled as to whether the president was planning a major military-related action in the days ahead.

White House officials did not immediately returned a request for comment on Bolton's remarks.

The president and his allies have dismissed Bolton's criticism as that of a disgruntled ex-employee for months, event as the Justice Department sought for months earlier this year to block the publication of Bolton's memoir, which characterized the president as "stunningly uninformed" about world affairs.

Trump fired back at his former aide in a tweet Sunday afternoon, accusing Bolton of bringing nothing to the White House but calls for war.

"John Bolton was one of the dumbest people in government that I’ve had the “pleasure” to work with. A sullen, dull and quiet guy, he added nothing to National Security except, 'Gee, let’s go to war.' Also, illegally released much Classified Information," wrote Trump.

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