Five major witnesses rebut Bolton book, undercutting claims about Trump presidency
'I haven’t read the book in its entirety, but the excerpts I’ve seen, there’s lots of falsehoods, there’s lot of lies contained there,' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
June 24, 2020 - 10:51am
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
At least five major witnesses reject substantive claims in John Bolton's forthcoming, 592-page memoir titled "The Room Where It Happened."
In the book, Bolton reportedly claimed that Trump offered “personal favors to dictators he liked," and asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him in the 2020 election.
1. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Pushing back hard against Bolton's credibility and access, Pompeo told Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday that Bolton was shut out of key meetings because colleagues were worried that Bolton would leak or lie about the meetings.
“I haven’t read the book in its entirety, but the excerpts I’ve seen, there’s lots of falsehoods, there’s lots of lies contained there,” Pompeo told Hannity, saying he disagreed with the book's title, “The Room Where It Happened.”
2. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer: At a Senate Finance Committee hearing Wednesday, Lighthizer firmly rebutted Bolton’s claim that President Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for help winning the 2020 election. "Absolutely untrue, never happened," Lighthizer said. "I was there, I have no recollection of that ever happening. I don't believe it's true, I don't believe it ever happened."
3. Bolton's former chief of staff Fred Fleitz: The fact that Trump "decided last June not to bomb Iran," Fleitz told Fox News, "disproves" what he called the premise of Bolton's book — that the "president doesn't have principles [and] he's not qualified to lead."
"You may remember that a drone was shot down," Fleitz told Fox News. "And at the last minute, President Trump decided he was not going to attack Iran because we would have killed 100-200 people, no more."
Fleitz said he had known Bolton for 30 years and that Trump's decision not to escalate the conflict with Iran — and Bolton's response — showed that his former boss "couldn't figure out how to work" with Trump.
4. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: “The excerpts of John Bolton’s book that I have reviewed are full of lies and factual inaccuracies,' Mnuchin said in a statement put out by Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley. "John Bolton has put self-promotion ahead of the truth and of the interests of the country.”
5. White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro: “I never heard that,” trade adviser Peter Navarro said of Bolton's China claim, which Navarro called "silly" and "a John Bolton fantasy."
“I hate the title of that book,” Navarro told CNN's Jake Tapper. “But I was in those rooms too.”
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