Bolton's new book reveals how Trump asked Xi for help with election
Washington - President Donald Trump asked his Chinese counterpart to make agricultural purchases in order to help the US leader win over farmers ahead of the upcoming election, former top aide John Bolton claims in a new book.
At a meeting, Trump turned to Xi Jinping and "stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome," according to excerpts published in the Wall Street Journal.
Bolton described this as the "confluence in Trump's mind of his own political interests and US national interests."
Separately, the New York Times cited the book as saying that there were other improper actions by Trump involving Turkey's Halkbank - an open case in US courts - and the Chinese tech company ZTE.
Bolton accused Trump of treating "obstruction of justice as a way of life," while blasting lawmakers for "impeachment malpractice" for only focusing on the Ukraine affair in their investigations.
Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, refused to testify during the House impeachment hearings, making his claim controversial.
His book is being attacked by Trump loyalists, while liberals see Bolton as someone who could have aided the impeachment inquiry, but held out for a book deal instead.
"Bolton's staff were asked to testify before the House to Trump's abuses, and did. They had a lot to lose and showed real courage," said Congressman Adam Schiff, a leading Democratic investigator during impeachment.
"When Bolton was asked, he refused, and said he'd sue if subpoenaed. Instead, he saved it for a book," Schiff said. "He's no patriot."
Trump was accused of asking Ukraine for help in digging up dirt on his rival, the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and allegedly withheld military aid to pressure Kiev.
Trump was impeached in the Democratic-controlled House but acquitted by the Senate, where his Republican Party has a majority.
Bolton also alleges Trump encouraged Xi to build internment camps for Muslim minority groups.
"Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do," Bolton writes in the book, dubbing them "concentration camps."
"He's a liar," Trump told the Wall Street Journal, denying giving Xi approval for camps. "Everybody in the White House hated John Bolton," the paper cited the president as adding.
During a Senate hearing on commerce, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was asked about the claim that Trump asked Xi for help in Osaka, and the official called story "completely crazy," adding that he was at the G20 meeting.
"I have no recollection of that ever happening. I don't believe it's true," Lighthizer said.
As snippets of the book were emerging, the US Department of Justice filed an emergency application for a temporary restraining order to block publication, saying it "will damage the national security of the United States."
A day earlier, the government had sued to stop the upcoming publication, slated for next week, saying the work is a breach of Bolton's confidentiality agreements.
The lawsuit says Bolton stands to earn 2 million dollars from the book deal.
The book also reportedly seeks to show that Trump is ignorant on key matters of world affairs, such as wondering if Finland is part of Russia and if Britain had nuclear weapons.
The volume, if published, would be the latest in a long line of Trump-bashing books in the last four years penned by people once close to the president, but Bolton is likely the one who had the most involvement in the inner workings of foreign policy.
Broadcaster ABC is due to air an interview with Bolton on Sunday night. A brief clip has already been released, in which Bolton blasts Trump over his handling of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the US leader was outfoxed.dpa