- President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, has claimed that the president is more influenced by what’s on TV than his own advisers.
- “Well, I think it’s a combination of television and listening to people outside the government that he trusts for one reason or another,” Bolton said in a CBS News interview.
- He also expressed doubt over the White House’s recent claims that the intelligence about Russian bounties on US troops in Afghanistan was not sound.
- Bolton is currently locked in a legal dispute with the White House after making a series of damaging claims about Trump in a recently-published memoir.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, said that the president pays more attention to cable news than the counsel of his advisers.
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, host Margaret Brennan asked Bolton if he believed the president was more influenced by what’s on television or his own advisers.
—Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 5, 2020
“Well, I think it’s a combination of television and listening to people outside the government that he trusts, for one reason or another,” Bolton replied.
“I think that if you could clock the amount of time he spent actually in the Oval Office versus the amount of time he spends in the little dining room off the Oval Office with the cable news networks of one form or another on, it would be a very interesting statistic.”
It has long been reported that the president spends significant amounts of time glued to cable news, particularly Fox News, sometimes live-tweeting about segments on shows.
Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have served as sounding boards and informal advisers to the president, with Carlson even accompanying Trump on a trip to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un last July while Bolton was sent on a trip to Mongolia.
Since leaving office in September 2019, Bolton has become one of the president’s toughest critics.
In his recently-published memoir, “The Room Where it Happened,” Bolton makes a series of highly damaging allegations about Trump, including that the president sought China’s help in winning the 2020 presidential election.
The White House had unsuccessfully attempted to stall publication of the memoir, claiming that it contains classified information. Trump has also claimed that it contains lies — and has reacted to Bolton’s claims with a string of denials and insults on social media.
Bolton weighs into the Russian bounty fiasco
In the Sunday interview, Bolton went on to express doubt in recent White House claims that intelligence indicating that Russia paid Taliban militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan was unverified, so the president had not been briefed about it.
The White House issued the denial after a series of reports claimed that the president had chosen to take no action after learning of the intelligence.
Three separate Taliban sources confirmed to Insider last week that Russia did pay extremists in the group to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Bolton said: “Well, I’ve said in countless other interviews, I’m not going to disclose classified information. I’ve got the struggle with the president trying to repress my book on that score already.”
“I will say this,” he said. “All intelligence is distributed along the spectrum of uncertainty. And this intelligence in 2020, by the administration’s own admission, was deemed credible enough to give to our allies.”
“So the notion that you only give the really, completely, 100% verified intelligence to the president would mean you give him almost nothing. And that’s just not the way the system works.”