Trump fires John Bolton as national security adviser
There were a lot of well documented problems regarding John Bolton but at the end “the leaking is what got him," according to a source who has talked to President Trump about the former national security adviser.
Specifically, in the President's view, telling reporters things about the Camp David summit that made Trump look bad, the source said.
“There is a lot that Trump can take. Leaking is not one," the source said.
“He has been a bureaucratic infighter his whole life — and it finally hurt him," the source added.
While there has been much reporting on tensions between John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, multiple sources said Bolton and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also clashed repeatedly on a range of issues.
Many of those issues were related to Treasury Department actions on sanctions. Mnuchin often felt that Bolton was too heavy-handed in advocating for sanctions, in particular over the administration's policy toward Venezuela, the sources said.
It's perhaps also why Mnuchin gratuitously pointed out during Tuesday's briefing that Bolton and Trump had "very different" views of the Iraq War.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a White House press briefing that he did not think President Trump’s national security team is a mess.
Asked by CNN whether he thought the team was a mess, Mnuchin said, “Absolutely not. That’s the most ridiculous question I’ve ever heard of.”
“Let me just say the national security team, which is what you asked, consists of the national security adviser, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, myself, the chief of staff and many others,” he continued.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that world leaders should not expect any foreign policy change in former national security adviser John Bolton’s absence.
“These have been the President’s policies,” Pompeo said, noting that his advisers “give him our best wisdom,” as well as advice and data to make decisions.
“I don’t think any leader around the world should make any assumption the President’s foreign policy will change in any material way,” Pompeo said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also chimed in to answer the original question about where Bolton disagreed with Trump.
Trump’s view of the Iraq War and Bolton’s, Mnuchin said, “was very different.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today that President Trump asked John Bolton for his resignation last night and “it was received this morning.”
“The President’s entitled to the staff that he wants,” Pompeo said, adding that he deserves staff who he “trusts” and “values” and “whose efforts and judgement benefit national security.”
He acknowledged that he disagreed with Bolton “many times.”
“That’s for sure,” he said, but added he disagrees with others, as well.
Asked whether he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were surprised that Bolton was fired, given that he was supposed to appear at this briefing alongside them, Pompeo said, “I’m never surprised.”
He continued: “We work very closely with the President,” and they “have a good understanding of how he’s thinking about things.”
John Bolton had recently expressed reluctance to defend the Trump administration on television.
Bolton had been soft-booked to do "Meet the Press" and "This Week" on Aug. 25 during the G-7 summit, according to people familiar with the matter, but he later backed out.
According to one official familiar with the situation, Bolton felt uncomfortable explaining and defending Trump's positions on various issues, including Russia, which had become a central topic of the summit.
Other officials said Kudlow and Mnuchin were simply better positioned to speak about economic issues, which were also in focus at the G7.
NBC and ABC declined to comment.
Charles Kupperman was named as the next acting National Security Council director following John Bolton's firing, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters.
Kupperman had been serving as the deputy national security adviser. He is a longtime Bolton ally and adviser.
“John Bolton’s priorities and policies just don’t line up with the President’s and any sitting president has the right to put someone in that position that can carry out his agenda. That became no longer tenable so the President made a change,” Gidley told reporters.
He claimed there was “no one issue” that led to Bolton’s firing, and referred reporters to the forthcoming briefing for more information.
Gidley added that the situation with Bolton was "no longer tenable so the President made a change."
Asked if there are any updates to the schedule for the 1:30 p.m. ET briefing, a White House official said John “Bolton is no longer in the building.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin are still planning to hold a news conference soon from the White House.
About Bolton's firing: An hour before the briefing, Trump announced in a tweet that he had fired Bolton. The now-former national security adviser was scheduled to appear at the news conference as well.
Separately, a source close to Bolton told reporters,“Since Ambassador Bolton has been NSC adviser — for the last 17 months — there have no been no bad deals: Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, China.”