Trump asked China’s Xi for US re-election help, claims Bolton

Donald Trump alluded to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, and pleaded during a June 2019 with Xi Jinping to ensure he would win, former national security advisor John Bolton wrote in his upcoming book. (AFP)
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Updated 18 June 2020

Trump asked China’s Xi for US re-election help, claims Bolton

  • ‘I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations’

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump pleaded with China’s leader Xi Jinping for help to win re-election in 2020, the US president’s former national security adviser John Bolton writes in an explosive new behind-the-scenes book, according to excerpts published Wednesday.
Bolton alleges in a blistering critique that Trump’s focus on winning a second term was the driving principle of his foreign policy, and that top aides routinely disparaged the Republican leader for his ignorance of basic geopolitical facts.
In excerpts published by The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Bolton also claims Trump repeatedly showed a readiness to overlook Chinese human rights abuses — most strikingly telling Xi the mass internment of Uighur Muslims was “exactly the right thing to do.”
“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” Bolton writes of the real estate magnate-turned-president, who was impeached in December for seeking dirt from Ukraine on his 2020 Democratic election rival Joe Biden.
In a key meeting with Xi last June, Trump “stunningly turned the conversation to the US presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton claims in his upcoming tell-all.
Bolton writes that Trump stressed the importance of US farmers and how “increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat” could impact the US electoral outcome.
In a sign of Trump’s anger over the memoir, the Justice Department filed an emergency order late Wednesday seeking a halt to publication, the second time in as many days it has tried to block the book.
Arguing that Bolton failed to allow completion of vetting of the book as required, the department urged the court to take action to “prevent the harm to national security that will result if his manuscript is published to the world.”
Bolton “broke the law” by divulging “highly classified information,” Trump said in a late Wednesday interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
He also derided his former adviser, a veteran Washington insider, as “washed up,” and mocked Bolton’s past support for the US war in Iraq.
“Wacko John Bolton’s ‘exceedingly tedious’ (New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories,” Trump later tweeted.
“A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!”
In the released excerpts Bolton said that by intervening in cases involving major firms in China and Turkey, Trump appeared to “give personal favors to dictators he liked.”
He describes “obstruction of justice as a way of life” in the White House, and says he reported his concerns to Attorney General William Barr.
The bombshell book, “The Room Where It Happened,” is due for release next Tuesday, in the thick of a presidential campaign against Democrat Biden.
The former vice president said Bolton’s revelations show Trump “sold out the American people to protect his political future.”
“If these 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.”
The conservative Bolton, himself a controversial figure in US politics, spent 17 turbulent months in the White House before resigning last September.
He declined to testify during the December impeachment process in the House of Representatives, then said in January he would testify in the Senate trial if he were issued a subpoena.
Senate Republicans blocked such an effort by Democrats.
Bolton did not explicitly say whether Trump’s newly revealed actions amounted to impeachable conduct, but argued that the House should have investigated them.
He also said Democrats committed “impeachment malpractice” by limiting their inquiry to “the Ukraine aspects of Trump’s confusion of his personal interests.”
Had they looked more widely, Democrats might have persuaded Republicans and other Americans that “high crimes and misdemeanors” had been perpetrated, he wrote.
Bolton depicts a chaotic White House in which even seemingly loyal top aides mocked the president — while Trump himself allegedly ignores basic facts such as Finland being distinct from Russia.
During Trump’s 2018 summit with North Korea’s leader, according to excerpts, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slipped Bolton a note maligning the president, saying “He is so full of shit.”
Several behind-the-scenes books have emerged in recent years alleging damning Trump details, but Bolton is the highest-ranking official to write one.
The president’s niece, Mary Trump, is also set to release her memoir, featuring the scathing title “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” on July 28.
Trump has sought to halt the books, but constitutional experts said it would be unlikely courts would block their publication.


Notorious Abu Sayyaf leader arrested in Davao

Updated 18 sec ago

Notorious Abu Sayyaf leader arrested in Davao

  • Susukan was wanted in connection with numerous kidnappings and terrorist attacks

MANILA: The Philippine authorities announced late Thursday that Anduljihad Indang Susukan, a leader in the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), is now in police custody. Susukan had reportedly been seen earlier in the day in President Rodrigo Duterte’s home city of Davao.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a statement that Susukan was turned over to the local police at the residence of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari in Yñigue Subdivision, Maa, Davao City.
“We thank chairman Nur Misuari for facilitating the negotiation between the PNP, headed by Police Col. Kirby John Kraft, the Davao City director and (Susukan),” said Gamboa.
Upon learning of Susukan’s presence in the city, the PNP informed Davao’s mayor, Inday Sara Duterte, “who assured us of her full cooperation and assistance to ensure the peaceful handover and orderly transfer of custody to proper authorities,” Gamboa said.
Susukan has been arrested in connection with 23 murders, five kidnappings and illegal detentions, and six frustrated homicides. He is a member of the ASG faction led by Hadjan Sawadjaan, whom the US  has identified as the acting leader of Daesh in the Philippines.
The PNP said Susukan will undergo a medical examination at Camp Quintin Merecido Hospital before being transferred to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters in Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The military is investigating reports that Susukan had surrendered to Misuari in Jolo in the first week of August, according to AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman Maj. Arvin Encinas.
“We’re still verifying the information,” Encinas told Arab News. “Considering he did not surrender to government authorities, we still consider him an enemy. And even if he did surrender to Misuari, that does not give him amnesty. He is still liable for all his crimes.”
Citing intelligence sources, reports claimed Misuari had brought Susukan to Davao City for medical treatment, specifically to have him fitted with a prosthetic replacement for his left arm, which he lost last year during a shootout with government forces. According to Encinas, however, Susukan “was still in Jolo.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, told reporters there was no official confirmation of the ASG leader’s alleged presence in Davao City.
“I already talked to the commander of Eastern Mindanao Command. He was also unaware of why Misuari and Susukan (were) together in Davao City. Susukan is wanted by the military,” Lorenzana said. “I’m still awaiting the official report.”
Misuari, meanwhile, is expected to meet with President Duterte in the next few days. MNLF spokespeople were not available for comment at the time of writing.
Susukan is also wanted in Malaysia for involvement in cross-border crimes in the waters off the Malaysian state of Sabah on the northeast coast of Borneo. He has been charged with the murder of Malaysian national Bernard Then Ted Fen, who was kidnapped by ASG gunmen at a restaurant in Sabah in May 2015.

 

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