National Security

Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report

Former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly told Attorney General William Barr that he feared President Trump was granting personal favors to the leaders of China and Turkey.

Bolton recounted the episode in a draft version of his upcoming memoir, according to people familiar with the manuscript who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.

Bolton reportedly wrote that Barr responded that he was worried Trump may have created the appearance of having improper influence over investigations involving companies based in those two countries during personal conversations with the leaders of China and Turkey.

It was not immediately clear what “personal favors” Bolton reportedly referred to in his book. In recent months, the Trump administration has faced criticism for allowing a Turkish military invasion of areas of northern Syria held by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, and the Times noted that Bolton wrote that Barr specifically singled out Trump’s conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE as a cause for worry.

Bolton, in a joint statement with publisher Simon & Schuster, said Monday that they were not involved in leaking transcripts of Bolton’s book to the Times, though Bolton has not yet denied any revelations reported by the Times.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

On Sunday, it was reported that Bolton wrote in the book that Trump told him he wished to tie $391 million in aid to Ukraine to his requests for Ukrainian investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats, a charge Trump’s lawyers immediately denied.

Trump personally lashed out at his former aide on Twitter after the Sunday report, writing that he “never” told Bolton that aid to Ukraine was linked to his desire for a criminal investigation into Biden, a 2020 political rival.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Trump tweeted. “In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden John Bolton William Barr
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