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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Bolton Revelations

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.   

Thanks to John Bolton, it will now be harder for Trump to play the China card.

Gabriel Sherman at Vanity Fair:
John Bolton’s account that Donald Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping last June to buy more American farm products to help Trump’s reelection is so explosive that White House officials prevented Bolton from directly quoting Trump in Bolton’s new tell-all memoir. “I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise,” Bolton writes in The Room Where it Happened.
...
According to an unredacted passage shown to Vanity Fair by a source, Trump’s ask is even more crudely shocking when you read Trump’s specific language. “Make sure I win,” Trump allegedly told Xi during a dinner at the G20 conference in Osaka, Japan last summer. “I will probably win anyway, so don’t hurt my farms.… Buy a lot of soybeans and wheat and make sure we win.”
...
For example, at last year’s G20 dinner, with only interpreters present, Xi explained to Trump why China was building concentration camps for the country’s minority Uighur population. Trump allegedly told Xi he approved of the brutal human rights violation. “According to our interpreter, Trump said to Xi, ‘go ahead, you’re doing exactly the right thing.’” Bolton writes.
...Another passage shows Trump’s racist views on immigration. Bolton describes how Trump derailed a White House meeting about Iran strategy by bringing up a right wing conspiracy that Black South Africans were killing white South African farmers and stealing their land. According to Bolton, Trump blurted out that he wanted to grant the white South Africans “asylum and citizenship.”


David Corn at Mother Jones:
Receiving less attention than these made-for-Twitter disclosures is what Bolton says about Trump’s response to Vladimir Putin’s attack on that election. But this stuff is important, for here is yet another indication that Trump has no interest in thwarting a Kremlin assault on the current election.

According to Trump’s own top intelligence officials, Moscow is currently trying to intervene in the 2020 campaign. Both FBI Director Chris Wray and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe have said so in congressional testimony, without providing details about the ongoing covert Russian efforts. So one obvious question is, what is Trump doing about this? The answer, per Bolton, is nothing.


In his book, Bolton does not go into great depth on this crucial matter. But Trump’s former national security adviser notes that Trump “willfully ignored or denied that Russia was meddling globally in US and many other elections.” This is the public posture Trump has taken since the 2016 election and through his years in the White House. ...Still, even in the privacy of the Oval Office, Trump would not discuss with his top national security aide the Russian intervention—or, worse, the prospect of a repeat performance.
“Trump believed that acknowledging Russia’s meddling in US politics, or in that of many other countries in Europe and elsewhere, would implicitly acknowledge that he had colluded with Russia in his 2016 campaign,” Bolton writes.