John Bolton says Trump turned a blind eye to the coronavirus pandemic

“I think there is an empty chair in the Oval Office, because the President did not want to hear bad news about his friend Xi Jinping. He did not want to hear bad news about the cover-up of the virus in China, or its potential effect on China’s trade deal. he wants so much. And he didn’t want to hear about the potential impact of a pandemic on the US economy and its effect on his reelection. Turning a blind eye to all these initial signs I think it hampered the country’s ability to deal with this, and continues doing it, “Bolton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on” The Situation Room. “

When asked if he was confident in Trump’s handling of the pandemic, Bolton replied, “Not me.”

“I am afraid that the erratic nature of the policies as they evolved since January, when experts really began to feel that this problem might have existed, has characterized our response at all times. And I am concerned that it will continue to be the pattern that the President It is not part of a comprehensive strategy. I think that in a country the size of the United States, state and local authorities should play an important role, but at the federal level, the response has not been consistent, “he said. said.

Bolton’s interview with CNN follows the release of his book, titled “The Room Where It Happened.” The book has been subject to a month-long legal battle between him and the Trump administration, which in a final ditch attempt last week requested emergency help from a judge to stop publication of the book.

The White House had argued that Bolton had breached confidentiality agreements and risked national security by exposing classified information.

A federal judge on Saturday blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to prevent publication of the book, but left open the possibility that Bolton could face criminal charges or be forced to hand over profits related to the book.

Bolton acknowledged that he may not make millions of dollars in profit from his book, according to what the judge dictates.

Breaking down Bolton's account of a White House in crisis

“I am prepared to accept that,” he said.

When asked if he was prepared to go to jail, Bolton said he sees no reason for that to happen.

Why did Bolton not testify?

Bolton again said on Wednesday that his testimony during impeachment proceedings would not have mattered because Democrats in the House immediately determined that the investigation would focus “only on the situation in Ukraine.”

“By determining from the outset that they were going to focus only on the situation in Ukraine, and that they were going to resolve it as quickly as possible, so it did not affect the Democratic presidential nomination process, they urged Republicans in the House of Representatives to It could have been open to broader consideration, less partisan consideration, they drove those Republicans into their partisan corner, and it had the same effect in the Senate, “he said.

But that claim sparked strong rejection by former special impeachment council Norm Eisen, who said Bolton’s argument was “absurd.”

“Nonsense. I was one of the main drafters of the impeachment articles and I can tell you that broader obstruction issues were considered until the last minute,” he told CNN shortly after Bolton’s comments.

Bolton calls Trump

“In fact, you can see that at the Judiciary hearing in December where I and others interrogated experts about, as Bolton would say, ‘obstruction as a way of life.’ Look at the transcript and the exhibits from that hearing, and the press coverage he noticed so much. Bolton is desperately rewriting the story to ease his own painful conscience. He knows he could have made a difference, instead he decided to make money. ” Eisen added.

Bolton has always justified his absence during the impeachment investigation, alleging that House Democrats are to blame.

House Democrats wanted Bolton to testify last year, but he declined to do so, threatening a legal battle if summoned. Bolton offered to testify during the Senate impeachment trial, but Republicans voted to reject the hearing of any witnesses.

Bolton wrote in his book that the Democrats carried out a hasty and partisan investigation, and accused them of committing “negligence of impeachment” by focusing only on Trump’s involvement with Ukraine.

Democrats have criticized Bolton for worrying more about the sales of his books than about Trump’s misconduct, while Republicans continue to question Bolton’s credibility and accuse him of having an ax to grind.

Trump is not racist

Bolton also told CNN that he doesn’t see Trump as racist.

“I don’t see that in his comments. I think he could be charged with callousness. I think we could all be charged with callousness,” Bolton told Blitzer.

He added that he was puzzled by Trump’s recent efforts to duplicate racist rhetoric. “I don’t know what he’s honestly doing,” Bolton said of Trump’s racist rhetoric.

Bolton also told Blitzer that he had a resignation letter ready to send out for some time before finally using it.

“I think at least for some of us we almost joked about it … I had a two-sentence resignation letter written for quite some time before I pulled it out of the drawer and made it effective,” he said.

“I knew it when I came in. I knew what people were saying about the president. I thought I could make it work. I did my best to try. And I wrote the story in the book,” Bolton said.