Donald Trump pleaded with China’s leader Xi Jinping for help to win re-election in 2020, the US president’s former aide John Bolton writes in an explosive new book, according to excerpts published Wednesday.
In a meeting with Xi last June, Trump “stunningly turned the conversation to the US presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” former national security advisor Bolton claims in his upcoming tell-all.
In excerpts published by The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Bolton writes that Trump stressed the importance of America’s farmers and how “increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat” could impact the electoral outcome in the United States.
“I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise,” Bolton said, referring to the requirement that he have his manuscript vetted months ago by US agencies.
He also described multiple episodes of behavior by Trump that Bolton said “looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept,” according to the excerpts.
The bombshell revelations come months after Trump’s impeachment in the House and subsequent Senate acquittal, and in the thick of a presidential race against his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Bolton, long a controversial conservative figure in US politics, spent 17 turbulent months in the White House before resigning last September.
He declined to testify during the House impeachment process last December, saying he only would if compelled by a judge.
After Trump’s impeachment, Bolton said in January he would testify before the Senate trial if he was issued a subpoena, but the chamber’s Republicans blocked such an effort by Democrats.
Bolton did not explicitly say whether Trump’s newly revealed actions amounted to impeachable conduct, but he said he told Attorney General Bill Barr about them and that they should have been investigated by the House.
He also said Democrats committed “impeachment malpractice” by limiting their inquiry to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The president is accused of pressuring Kiev in order to gain dirt on his Democratic rivals.
“Had the House not focused solely on the Ukraine aspects of Trump’s confusion of his personal interests,” Bolton writes, “there might have been a greater chance to persuade others that ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ had been perpetrated.”
© Agence France-Presse