WSJ editorial page deputy editor and Fox News contributor Dan Henninger reacts to the foreign policy allegations made in John Bolton’s new memoir.
Former national security adviser John Bolton claims in his forthcoming memoir that President Trump once said reporters “should be executed” and even requested that his White House counsel contact the Justice Department to discuss whether jailing journalists would be possible.
Fox News has obtained a copy of his forthcoming memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.” It has not been publicly released yet, and the Trump administration has taken steps to try to block its publication, claiming it contains confidential information.
In the book, Bolton said Trump’s comments about reporters came in the midst of a meeting to discuss Afghanistan.
“As the discussion proceeded, Trump said at one point, ‘Making a bad deal is worse than just getting out. I’d rather not make a deal.’ I thought this comment provided a glimmer of hope,” Bolton wrote. “But before we got too far, Trump shifted again to complain about leaks, including that CNN had earlier reported this very meeting.”
“’These people should be executed, they are scumbags,’ he said, but then observed it was ‘not a bad thing that the news [was] out’ that we were talking about Afghanistan,” Bolton wrote.
“This led to one of Trump’s favorite legal gambits, namely, that the Justice Department arrest the reporters, force them to serve time in jail, and then demand they disclose their sources. Only then would the leaks stop.”
“Trump told [White House counsel Pat Cipollone] to call Barr about it, which Cipollone said he would do,” Bolton wrote, adding that Trump then shifted back to the topic of Afghanistan.
The Justice Department is seeking an emergency injunction preventing the release of Bolton’s book, saying he had deliberately bypassed the necessary classification review process and that his manuscript still contains classified information.
The president has slammed the memoir as “pure fiction” on Thursday and said his former national security adviser is “trying to get even” after he fired him from his post last year.
“Bolton’s book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad,” Trump tweeted. “Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction.”
He added: “Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!”
Bolton served as national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019 and was United States ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration.
Bolton also accused Trump, during an interview with ABC News, of being more focused on winning November’s election than American interests.
“I don’t think he’s fit for office. I don’t think he has the competency to carry out the job,” Bolton said. “There isn’t really any guiding principle that I was able to discern, other than what’s good for Donald Trump’s reelection.”
Meanwhile, Trump on Thursday also slammed Bolton for his comments about North Korea during his time as national security adviser.
“When Wacko John Bolton went on Deface the Nation and so stupidly said that he looked at the “Libyan Model” for North Korea, all hell broke out. Kim Jong Un, who we were getting along with very well, went “ballistic”, just like his missiles – and rightfully so,” Trump tweeted.
“He didn’t want Bolton anywhere near him. Bolton’s dumbest of all statements set us back very badly with North Korea, even now. I asked him, ‘what the hell were you thinking?’ He had no answer and just apologized. That was early on, I should have fired him right then & there!” he continued.
Fox News’ Gregg Re and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.