John Bolton defends anti-Trump book, denies it contains classified info

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton on Friday night called President Trump’s criticisms of him “childish” and “demeaning to the office of the president.”

“Frankly I’m just not going to respond to him,” Bolton told Mike Emanuel on “Fox News @ Night.” “I’ve written what actually happened during my 17 months at the White House … as accurately as I can. People can read it and they’ll make up their own mind about Donald Trump.”

Bolton, author of the newly released tell-all, “The Room Where It Happened,” said writing a book about a president during his term isn’t anything new.

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“So this is something that upsets Donald Trump when it’s not to his liking. Just like his family is suing his own niece now to try and block her book. I think you can see a pattern there,” he said. (The lawsuit brought by Robert Trump, the president’s brother, against niece Mary Trump, was dismissed Thursday by a New York judge.)

Bolton denied he had taken advantage of the president’s trust, saying Trump has tweeted or talked about many of the meetings he wrote about in his book.

“Some of the things the president, himself, has leaked to journalists, as everybody in the West Wing knows.”

He gave the example of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson attacking each other in newspapers during George Washington’s presidency. “And somehow poor George Washington managed to make it through,” he joked. “I do owe a duty of loyalty, absolutely. I owe it to the Constitution and people and not to a flawed president.”

Bolton added he is “quite” worried about foreign interference in the upcoming presidential election. He said that along with Russia, countries such as China, Iran and North Korea may attempt to meddle as well.

“We took steps during my tenure to more readily enable offensive U.S. cyber operations against those who would attack our elections. Anybody who says this is not a serious threat is not paying attention.”

He said he doesn’t “really care” if his book makes it more difficult for him to work for a future administration, adding that he’s more concerned with the future of the Republican Party.

“I think after the November election it will be moving into the post-Trump era – whether he wins or loses – obviously more quickly if he loses.”

He said if the party doesn’t find a way to “cut the albatross” of Trump “loose from around our neck … the party could suffer permanent damage.”

Bolton said he’s “convinced” he didn’t put any classified material in the book and submitted to the pre-publication process even though he said it wasn’t required.

“At the end of it, the career official responsible for the review had concluded there was no classified information,” he said. “What we’ve got here was signaled by the president months ago. He said, ‘I don’t want this book out before the election,’ and I think that’s what his aides tried to do.”

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“Let me be clear to the people,” he added. “There’s nothing in this book that Donald Trump fears foreign governments reading. What he fears is the American people reading it.”

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