Donald Trump is blasting a coming book by John Bolton as "a compilation of lies" as his former national security adviser paints him as ill-informed, erratic and often willing to side with authoritarian leaders.
The president railed against Mr Bolton's allegations and alleged anecdotes from his time in the West Wing in a television interview Wednesday night then again on Twitter the next morning. His administration is suing to try and stop publisher Simon & Schuster from putting the tome on sale next week.
"Bolton's book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad," Mr Trump tweeted."Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction. Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!"
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As the president fights back with insults and denials, Mr Bolton is prepping for a media tour to discuss what he heard and saw from the president. Here are seven of Mr Bolton's boldest claims.
Mr Trump was impeached for asking Ukraine's president if he would investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden after discussing a massive US arms package. But Mr Bolton writes that many of the president's discussions with other foreign leaders were mostly about his own re-election.
He claims Mr Trump "pleaded" with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win re-election in 2020 by purchasing more US farming products, Mr Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton claims in his new book set to be released next week.
At a one-on-one meeting at a global summit in Japan in the summer of 2019, Mr Xi expressed his dissatisfaction with some critics of China within the US. Mr Trump mistakenly assumed Mr Xi was talking about Democratic lawmakers, Mr Bolton writes in his new book, the Washington Post has reported, and sympathised with Mr Xi's frustration.
"Trump immediately assumed Xi meant the Democrats. Trump said approvingly that there was great hostility among the Democrats," Mr Bolton writes. "He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win."
Mr Trump for years has bragged about his friendship with Xi, claiming it helped the two ink a partial trade deal last year. The US leader, at first, cited their personal relationship when he said he believed China's initial modest claims about the corona virus.
So Mr Bolton's claim that Mr Trump sided with the Chinese president over building concentration camps to "re-educate" Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang is on-brand. The former national security adviser contends his former boss told Mr Xi it was the right thing to do.
Mr Trump signed a measure Wednesday that passed both chambers of Congress condemning the camps and China's treatment of the Uighurs.
But Mr Bolton's claim, if true, shows how Mr Trump values personal relationships and his perception they help ink deals on trade and other matters over human rights, which his predecessors have made staples of their foreign policies.
Execute 'scumbag' journalists
The president has railed against "fake news" for years, playing the victim to a conservative base that has been conditioned by talk radio and Fox News to loathe the mainstream media.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany accused US outlets of unfair and inconsistent headlines about possibly contracting coronavirus at protests or the president's campaign rallies.
But Mr Bolton alleges the president took his complaints to a new level last summer.
"These people should be executed. They are scumbags," Mr Trump said, according to an account from his book, "The Room Where It Happened." He also wanted reporters jailed in an attempt to force them to reveal sources.
During the first year-plus of his term, Mr Trump railed on Twitter, at campaign rallies and even official White House policy events about "Little Rocket Man" or just "Rocket Man."
He was referring to Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader who refused to give up his nuclear program and was keen on firing long-range rockets near the shores of South Korea and Japan.
After a largely symbolic summit meeting -- more on that in a moment -- Mr Trump, according to his former national security adviser, had something on his mind. But it wasn't stripping Mr Kim of his atomic arsenal.
The US president was fixated, Mr Bolton claims, on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo giving the autographed CD to the dictator during a follow-up meeting. The only problem: Mr Trump did not seem to know Mr Pompeo never met with Mr Kim during his trip.
Mr Bolton describes the president's fascination with getting an autographed CD to Kim. The artist was Elton John. The song? "Rocket Man." (Speaking of Mr Pompeo, who portrays himself as the ultimate Trump loyalist, more on him later, as well.
Mr Trump bragged that he was going to a historic summit with Mr Kim to try forcing or compelling him to give up those nuclear weapons. But Mr Bolton detected a different mission from his then-boss. And it was all about scoring PR points with voters back home.
Mr Trump cared little about North Korea's nuclear arsenal when he met with Kim and was more interested in making friends with the dictator as he treated the historic meeting as "an exercise in publicity," his former senior aide wrote.
"Trump told ... me he was prepared to sign a substance-free communique, have his press conference to declare victory and then get out of town," Mr Bolton claims.
'Full of s***'
As noted above, Mr Pompeo has mostly stood by Mr Trump, often at press conferences or other events with a smile or stern expression -- whichever was more fitting for the moment. He has defended and clarified some of his boss's most brash statements.
But Mr Bolton, with whom he did not always see eye-to-eye, contends the former GOP congressman once slipped him a note about the president that revealed his true assessment of the businessman and former reality television host.
Not only did Mr Pompeo report Mr Trump's telephone call with his South Korean counterpart ahead of the Kim summit was a "near death experience" because of the president's comments, but he revealed his feelings about Mr Trump on a note slipped to Mr Bolton during the Kim summit.
"He's so full of s***," it read.
Mr Bolton writes in the book that those Cabinet officials and aides who appear most loyal to their boss mock him in private.
American and UK leaders for decades have said their two countries have one. It appears to have soured a bit under Mr Trump's term.
But during a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and other senior British officials, the American president appeared shocked that the Brits are an atomic power.
According to the book, a British official in Mr Trump's presence once referred to the nation as a nuclear power, to which Mr Trump replied, "Oh, you are a nuclear power?"
Mr Bolton notes he had, by then, worked with the president long enough to assess he was not joking.