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Donald Trump asked Theresa May if Britain had nuclear weapons, said invading Venezuela would be 'cool' and it was 'really part of the U.S.,' and thought Finland was in Russia, former National Security Advisor John Bolton's book reveals

Donald Trump did not know that Britain was a nuclear power, thought it would be 'cool' to invade Venezuela and thought Finland was in Russia, a new book by his former aide John Bolton claims.  
The US president allegedly reacted with surprise when informed during a meeting with Theresa May in 2018 that the UK possesses nuclear weapons. 
Bolton says Trump's response was 'not intended as a joke' - and recalls another occasion where Trump asked his then-chief of staff John Kelly whether Finland was a part of Russia.  
Trump also suggested having journalists 'executed' and described them as 'scumbags' for refusing to reveal their sources, Bolton says.
The explosive claims have come to light in Bolton's 592-page memoir The Room Where It Happened, published nine months after the former National Security Advisor left the White House last September.  
Trump has already lashed out at Bolton, calling him a 'liar' and a 'washed up guy' and telling his Fox News ally Sean Hannity that 'everybody in the White House hated him'. 
The White House has tried to block publication of the book and Trump has even threatened Bolton with criminal charges for exposing 'highly classified' conversations. 
However, Trump has not denied Bolton's claim that Trump 'pleaded' with Chinese leader Xi Jinping to buy more US crops to boost his re-election chances.  
President Trump didn't know a number of basic things about American foreign policy and geography, according to former National Security Advisor John Bolton's new book, including that Britain, one of the country's top allies, was a nuclear power
President Trump didn't know a number of basic things about American foreign policy and geography, according to former National Security Advisor John Bolton's new book, including that Britain, one of the country's top allies, was a nuclear power 
John Bolton (right) also wrote that President Trump (left) had asked former Chief of Staff John Kelly whether Finland was a part of Russia. He also shared an anecdote about Russian President Vladimir Putin changing Trump's mind on Venezuela by equating opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton
John Bolton (right) also wrote that President Trump (left) had asked former Chief of Staff John Kelly whether Finland was a part of Russia. He also shared an anecdote about Russian President Vladimir Putin changing Trump's mind on Venezuela by equating opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump, pictured with Britain's then Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, did not know the country, one of America's closest allies, was a nuclear power
Donald Trump, pictured with Britain's then Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, did not know the country, one of America's closest allies, was a nuclear power
According to just some of Bolton's further revelations: 
  • Trump agreed to 'back off' criminal probes as 'personal favors' to dictators, seeing 'obstruction of justice as a way of life';
  • Told Chinese President Xi Jinping he should go ahead with building alleged 'concentration camps' the regime was constructing for Chinese Uighurs;
  • Spent part of an Osaka summit 'pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win' re-election by buying U.S. crops such as soybeans and wheat; 
  • Was 'largely persuaded' by Vladimir Putin's 'propaganda' trick of comparing Venezuela's opposition leader to Hillary Clinton;  
  • Made it a 'high priority' to get Mike Pompeo to hand a copy of Elton John's 'Rocket Man' to North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un;   
  • Pompeo once referred to Trump as being 'so full of s**t' in a private note he passed to Bolton during the historic 2018 summit with Kim; 
  • Trump defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to distract attention from Ivanka Trump using personal email. 
Early copies of John Bolton's blockbuster memoir, 'Where It Happened,' were leaked to the media Wednesday
Early copies of John Bolton's blockbuster memoir, 'Where It Happened,' were leaked to the media Wednesday 
A copy of the book was obtained by DailyMail.com after first being obtained by The New York Times and The Washington Post on Wednesday. It is expected to hit bookshelves on Tuesday. 
Bolton's book contains numerous private conversations Trump had about other world leaders that showed his knowledge of them and foreign policy was limited.
Trump asked his then-Chief of Staff John Kelly if Finland was a part of Russia, The Washington Post notes.
And in a meeting with then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018, a British official referred to the UK as a 'nuclear power,' and Trump interjected: 'Oh, are you a nuclear power?'
Britain has long been a nuclear power and Bolton writes he could tell the president's question 'was not intended as a joke.'
Trump also said invading Venezuela would be 'cool' and argued that the South American nation was 'really part of the United States.' 
Bolton also reveals how Russian President Vladimir Putin manipulated Trump to his point of view.  
He recalled a May 2019 phone call where Putin compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton, Trump's 2016 rival.
Bolton called it a 'brilliant display of Soviet style propaganda' to shore up support for Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro. 
Putin's claims, Bolton writes, 'largely persuaded Trump'.
While much of Bolton's book focuses on foreign policy, which is the aide's forte, he more broadly characterized the president as someone who didn't know a lot and wasn't learning. 
John Bolton, Trump's former National Security Advisor, left the administration in September
John Bolton, Trump's former National Security Advisor, left the administration in September
President Trump says he fired Bolton, who claims he quit first. The Justice Department is seeking to stop publication of Bolton's memoir
President Trump says he fired Bolton, who claims he quit first. The Justice Department is seeking to stop publication of Bolton's memoir
'He second-guessed people's motives, saw conspiracies behind rocks and remained stunningly uninformed on how to run the White House, let alone the huge federal government,' Bolton wrote about what he witnessed during his tenure, which was over in September 2019. 
Trump, he said, led by 'personal instinct,' and went looking for opportunities to show off his 'reality TV showmanship.' 
The book also contains revelations about Attorney General Bill Barr, saying he tried to block prosecution of a Turkish bank, in a move sought by President Recep Erdogan.
Barr's Justice Department filed suit in federal court in Washington, DC filed suit seeking to suppress the book, arguing that Bolton was in breach of nondisclosure agreements he signed. 
As Bolton' fired up a publicity tour for the explosive book, he spoke about Trump's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ABC News.
'I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle,' Bolton said of the world leader many policy experts consider the leading U.S. adversary. 'It's a very difficult position for America to be in,' he said,' Bolton said. 
An excerpt obtained by the New York Times contains the claim about the criminal probes. Bolton writes that in cases involving China and Turkey, Trump was willing to 'in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked.' 
'The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept,' Bolton writes. 
According to a February report, Attorney General Bill Barr tried to block U.S. prosecution of a Turkish bank after Turkey's president Recep Erdogan asked Trump about it.  Barr personally got involved to try to stop the prosecution of Halkbank, according to a CNN report
In the case of China, Bolton describes Trump as begging the leader, with whom he regularly touts his good relationship. Trump was 'pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,' according to the book. 
Trump pleaded in Osaka with China's President Xi Jinping to buy U.S. agriculture products, describing the pitch in electoral terms, Bolton writes
Trump pleaded in Osaka with China's President Xi Jinping to buy U.S. agriculture products, describing the pitch in electoral terms, Bolton writes
Trump implored Xi during a one-on-one meeting during their summit in Osaka, according to Bolton.  
Bolton's new book is titled 'The Room Where It Happened,' and has already climbed to the top of Amazon's bestseller list. The Justice Department on Tuesday sued to try to stop publication, claiming Bolton was in breach of contract of his nondisclosure agreements. 
Bolton describes Trump's meting with Xi, but says he must do so without benefit of his notes, due to a clash with the government during a security review.
Xi complained about China critics in the U.S., and Trump immediately assumed he meant Demorats, according to another excerpt that appeared in the Washington Post.  
'He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win,' according to Bolton. 
'He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump's exact words but the government's prepublication review process has decided otherwise. 
Trump cast the deal as a breakthrough when he described it from Osaka. 
'For the time being we won't be lifting tariffs on China,' Trump told reporters. 'We will work with China. They are going to negotiate and start spending money.' 
'Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation,' said Xi, prompting Trump to say: 'It would be historic if we can do a fair trade deal.'
China had imposed retaliatory tariffs in a way that maximized pressure by focusing on key farm states including Iowa. When the 'Phase One' deal was finally inked in January of this year, China agreed to buy $12.5 billion in additional U.S. agriculture products.
Bolton describes a meeting in New Jersey in 2019 where Trump tears into journalists amid his ongoing consternation about leaks and says they should be forced to give up their sources. 'These people should be executed. They are scumbags,' Trump said, according to Bolton.
Guy Snodgrass, a speechwriter for former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis wrote 'can confirm' on Twitter. 
'This sentiment expressed again during Trump's meeting with Mattis in the Pentagon,' Snodgrass wrote. 
In another episode, Bolton writes, Russian President in May last year compared Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to Hillary Clinton in a gambit to win Trump over. The U.S. recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader amid protests to the rule of Nicolas Maduro.  
 Bolton called it a 'brilliant display of Soviet style propaganda' to boost Maduro that  'largely persuaded Trump.' 
'I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn't driven by reelection calculations,' Bolton writes. 
Trump didn't know that Finland is not part of Russia, according to the book. 
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the book 'full of classified information, which is inexcusable,' although the comment could also suggest some of what Bolton claimed did in fact happen.
According to an excerpt in the Wall Street Journal, Trump told Xi: 'You're the greatest Chinese leader in 300 years.' Then later, in a nation that still reveres Mao Tse Tung, Trump called him 'the greatest leader in Chinese history.' 
One passage depicts Trump showing contempt for a persecuted religious minority that U.S. policy seeks to protect by calling out repression of mostly Muslim Uighurs.'
'Trump asked me at the 2018 White House Christmas dinner why we were considering sanctioning China over its treatment of the Uighurs, a largely Muslim people who live primarily in China's northwest Xinjiang Province,' Bolton writes.  
'At the opening dinner of the Osaka G-20 meeting in June 2019, with only interpreters present, Xi had explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang,' he continued. 
'According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do. The National Security Council's top Asia staffer, Matthew Pottinger, told me that Trump said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China.'
Another dark passage recounts one of Trump's many defenses of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi as an effort to distract attention from Ivanka Trump using personal email. The president's daughter, a White House advisor, was under fire for using the personal account for some government business – a sensitive matter given Trump's attacks on Hillary Clinton.
'This will divert from Ivanka,' Trump said, according to the book. 'If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.' 
Trade negotiator Robert Lighhizer denied the charge that Trump pushed Beijing to help his own reelection through the agriculture purchases.
'I was there. I have no recollection of that ever happening. I don't believe it's true,' he told the Senate Finance Committee.  
Woven together, Bolton concludes Trump's conduct was always about helping himself, often at the expense of the country or strategic objectives. 
'The Trump presidency is not grounded in philosophy, grand strategy or policy. It is grounded in Trump,' he wrote. 
Bolton minimizes his own controversial moves, however, including ending a directorate at the NSC dealing with pandemic response before the coronavirus that would throw the global economy into chaos and cause a global health crisis. He writes that he merely shifted most staffers over to another directorate. 'At most, the internal NSC structure was the quiver of a butterfly's wings in the tsunami of Trump's chaos,' he writes. 
Democrats noted Bolton's revelations – but also blasted him for failing to participate in impeachment. Bolton resisted a Democratic request that he appear to testify in the House, then offered to do so in the Senate, where Republicans voted in lock-step not to call witnesses.
'If John Bolton's accounts are true, it's not only morally repugnant, it's a violation of Donald Trump's sacred duty to the American people to protect America's interests and defend our values,' wrote former Vice President Joe Biden on Twitter.
Bolton 'may be an author, but he's no patriot,' fumed Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman. 
'Bolton's staff were asked to testify before the House to Trump's abuses, and did,' Schiff tweeted, pointing to top NSC staffers who served as star witnesses. 'They had a lot to lose and showed real courage. When Bolton was asked, he refused, and said he'd sue if subpoenaed. Instead, he saved it for a book.'
Said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer: 'It was clear then and could not be any clearer now: the vote to convict and remove Donald Trump from office was absolutely the right vote. The revelations in Mr. Bolton's book make Senate Republicans' craven actions on impeachment look even worse — and history will judge them for it,' he added in a statement.
Democrats including Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon fired up new requests for information from Bolton based off the book. 

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