The upcoming memoir by former National Security Adviser John Bolton, “The Room Where It Happened”, has caught headlines even before its official release: one of the reasons is bombshell claims about Donald Trump's alleged political incentives and private conversations with world leaders.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration filed a lawsuit with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that the book was "rife with classified information" in a bid to stop publication. However, the memoir has already been leaked to the press which rushed to publish some juicy excerpts. One of them, for instance, claims that the US president pleaded with China's Xi Jinping to ensure he would win a second term.
'Most Americans Don't Respect Bolton'
"I have virtually no respect for Bolton and very few do in the US", says Bill Ravotti, a political analyst and Republican nominee for the US Congress in 1996 and in 1998. "He is a neocon zealot and clearly fabricated and distorted facts regarding the neocon invasion of Iraq to push his agenda. He is nothing more than a cheap, slimy opportunist who has been feeding off the system in Washington for decades. It was an absolute disgrace that he was even in this administration for one minute".
Most Americans do not respect John Bolton, the political analyst insists, admitting that the left-leaning media will definitely jump on this bandwagon to proceed with exaggerating an anti-Trump narrative. As for the ex-national security adviser, he is apparently looking for ways to profit, Ravotti presumes.
"What Mr Bolton says is immaterial to most Americans", Paul Gosar, a Republican congressman from Arizona, echoes the political analyst.
Gosar believes that Bolton's story will not impact voters as neither the Left nor the Right trusts the former aide.
"He is a known war-monger and therefore his opinions mean little", the Arizona congressman observes. "The fact that he seems willing to violate federal law or a contractual non-disclosure also reflects on his character more than anything anyone else could say about him".
On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at Bolton calling him a traitor. Pompeo said in a statement that the ex-top aide was "spreading a number of lies, fully-spun half-truths, and outright falsehoods". According to The New York Times, who obtained a copy of the book in advance of its scheduled publication, during the 2018 meeting between President Trump and North Korea’s leader, Pompeo slipped Bolton a note denouncing the president, saying "He is so full of sh*t". On another occasion, the secretary of state denounced Trump's North Korea strategy as having "zero probability of success", Bolton's memoir reads.
'Trump Shouldn't Have Appointed Bolton in the First Place'
"Bolton never should have been invited to be in that job. And now Mr Trump is paying for it. He is going to be very badly damaged by this", deems Jim Jatras, former US diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership.
He is not surprised by the White House's attempt to block the release. According to Jatras, Bolton's book has already been reviewed to make sure that it does not contain classified information but then it was put to another review.
"We have to keep a distinction between classified information that cannot be released and personally damaging information", the former diplomat opines. "I mean, no congressman or senator, for example, ever wants to see a former staff person publishing private conversations where they strategise with their own people".
The politician draws attention to what exactly Bolton is fuming over in his book because "he does not like Trump’s views on strategic issues".
"For example he writes that Trump came close to pulling the US out of NATO", Jatras highlights. "I think that would be wonderful. But obviously Mr Bolton doesn’t think so, and the Republican establishment doesn’t think so".
Many GOP Officeholders 'Pretty Much Hate' Trump
Jatras emphasises that Bolton's opus is not about the Republican Party and that the GOP and Trump are not the same: while many Republican voters support the incumbent president there are a lot of Republican officeholders, congressmen, and senators who "pretty much hate" Trump.
"Bolton’s book was just a knife in the back from a disloyal bureaucrat who wanted to implement his own views on policy, not the president’s, now he’s getting his revenge", the former diplomat believes. "That’s what this all this is about".
One might wonder as to how damaging the release of Bolton's memoir will be for Trump less than five months before the November election. Jatras does not have a solid answer to this question. It is quite plausible that Trump's base will stand strongly with the president no matter what, but it's "only about 35 or 40% of the population", according to the former GOP adviser.
Given this, what Trump's antagonists are now trying to do is to "damage Trump’s image" in front of the "10-15% that could go either way in the election", Jatras underscores.
Will Bolton Testify About Trump in Congress?
On the top of this, Bolton would even want to testify in the US Congress, the former diplomat remarks. According to The Wall Street Journal, House Democrats are mulling over calling Bolton to testify about Trump as the memoir "revives the debate over the president’s efforts on China, Ukraine".
House Democratic leaders have recently lambasted the former national security adviser for not appearing as a witness during the impeachment trial and rebuked him over his statement that they committed "impeachment malpractice" by not broadening the scope of their investigation. "What [Bolton] is saying basically is, 'there was malpractice in impeachment because you should have investigated things that I was unwilling to tell you about'", Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the House Democrats' impeachment probe, ranted at Bolton.
"[Bolton] might go through a little charade of having his lawyer contest the subpoena so he can say he was 'required to testify by law'", Jatras hypothesises. "The White House will try to block for executive privilege, but I don't think that will work. If he does, the media will give saturation coverage. Replay of impeachment hearings. Not good for Trump".