Former National Security Adviser John Bolton tells CNN’s Phil Mattingly why he thinks Donald Trump’s political career will be over following a second indictment against him. #CNN #News
Was shocked by the degree of sensitivity in these documents and how many there were, frankly. And so the government’s agenda was to get those protect those documents and get them out. And I think it was perfectly appropriate to do that. It was the right thing to do. And I think the counts
Under the Espionage Act that he willfully retained those documents are solid counts. That, of course, was former Attorney General Bill Barr saying he’s shocked by how sensitive the documents are at the center of the new indictment against his old boss, his old boss, who defended quite often in the past.
I want to read a specific paragraph from that indictment that gets what Barr was talking about. And it says, quote, The Justice Department alleges the documents included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries, our nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the United States
And its allies to military attack and plans for possible retaliation in response to foreign attack. Now, it goes on to say, the unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States foreign relations and the safety of the United States military and human sources.
I want to bring in Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton. He joins us now. He also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. And Ambassador Bolton, look, you are neither secretive nor subtle about your desire to see the former president out of the race.
For president or to be a candidate for president anymore. And we want to ask about the politics, because I want to ask you about what these documents actually mean. There’s a lot of classification and markings. There’s a lot of words and descriptions that people might not understand. Tell people
From a national security perspective what’s in the documents laid out in this indictment. Well, of course, neither I nor anybody else not involved in the case knows what’s in the documents yet. But I do know what kinds of documents were put in front of the president during my time, I’m sure,
During the entire four years of his term. And they did go to absolute the most important secrets that the United States has, directly affecting national security, directly affecting the lives, lives and safety of our service members and our civilian population. If he has anything like what the complaint what the indictment alleges,
And of course, the government will have to prove it then, that he has committed very serious crimes. This is this is a devastating indictment. I speak here as an alumnus of the Justice Department myself, because not only is it powerful, it’s very narrowly tailored. They didn’t throw everything up against the wall
To see what would stick. This really is a rifle shot. And I think it’s it should be the end of Donald Trump’s political career. He’s obviously made clear he doesn’t think that’s going to be the case. It should be no surprise to anybody. But I do want to ask you,
Still on the documents, I know you don’t know the specific documents themselves, but when you look at the classification levels. Can you explain to people how difficult it would be for an average government employee, one, to have access to them in the first place
And to to be able to get them out of compartmentalized area where you’re supposed to be reading secretive documents Well, it will vary depending on the level of the employee and where they are. My office, my old office at the White House, the whole office was a skiff because we just were drowning
In classified information. And at least in theory, the Oval Office ought to be a pretty safe place, too. And it’s very important, obviously, to give the president all the information he needs to make a decision, unfortunately. Trump didn’t pay too much attention to a lot of what he was given,
But he paid enough attention to it to have a constant fixation of trying to hold on to documents. A lot of things we got back from him. Obviously, a lot of things we didn’t. I’ve been interested to see some of your Republican counterparts maybe aren’t as hyperbolic, I guess would be the word
On some things related to the former president saying, look, this isn’t great, but a trial or an indictment of a former president and the the frontrunner in the Republican nomination is far worse for the country than what actually happened here. How do you what do you make of that?
Well, I don’t buy that argument at all. But but look, give give those who are saying it’s some credit, assume, for example, for the sake of discussion that Hillary Clinton Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, fill in the blank, should should be indicted, should be prosecuted. And the failure
To do so constitutes a double standard. Just assume that for purposes of discussion. Now, look at this indictment of Donald Trump. Do those people who make that complaint say, therefore, the answer is not to prosecute Donald Trump, that the response to a double standard is to move to no standard at all?
Absolutely not. You know, Republicans used to believe that not prosecuting criminals led to more crime. The answer here is take the politics out of the decision and in this case, proceed with the prosecution and do the same for anybody else who does anything even remotely like it.
So then why is every single other top Republican candidate seemingly critical of the indictment and seemingly afraid to attack him on it? I don’t know, honestly. You know, we hear a lot these days about public opinion polls taken over the weekend. Political leadership doesn’t take a public opinion polls as blocks of granite.
They’re interesting pieces of information. Political leaders change public opinion. I think it’s critical for those who seek to be the Republican nominee to tell Republican voters the truth about this indictment. I wish the RNC could email a copy of the indictment to every registered Republican in the country. And I’d simply say
I’m not going to make a lot of arguments with them. Just read the indictment and ask yourself if the government can prove what they allege here. Shouldn’t this man go to jail? One of the things that I’ve been trying to get my head around in terms of the scale of
What happened here or what’s alleged here is the why Why would the president take it? You know, there’s a lot of theories out there as to why he would want these documents. You were with him. You saw him in action at a very close level. Why do you think
What was the intent here? Well, I’m not sure I can give you a good answer, but I would say this throughout my 17 months there. It’s perfectly clear that Donald Trump addressed almost everything that came before him through the prism of the question, how does this benefit Donald Trump?
And so I think a lot of these documents he may have just thought were cool, a lot of it he thought might be souvenirs, a lot of me thought might be useful to him later. I can’t answer the question until I see the document. But, well, there are a lot of theories
That he could use it as information against his enemies, that he could give it to people in exchange for favors. We don’t know. And frankly, I don’t think speculating about the reasons is all that helpful. The simple fact he had the documents for any reason or no reason should subject him to prosecution
How do you think this ends for the former president Well, I think if I were an innocent person, if I were Donald Trump and I were innocent, I’d be saying I want this insult to my integrity. I use these words loosely removed as soon as possible.
I’m prepared to waive a lot of frivolous procedural motions. I want to go to trial in the next 60 days. I don’t want to drag this out. I’m innocent. I can prove it. Let’s go. Does anybody think Donald Trump’s really going to do that? I hope the Justice Department
Really does try for a speedy trial because frankly, the sooner it goes to a jury and we find out their answer, whatever, whatever that answer is going to be, the better for the country. Justice delayed, as they say, is justice denied. And the court should not let Donald
Trump get the kind of delay I suspect he wants. Ambassador John Bolton, thanks so much for your time, sir.