Pompeo Blasts 'Traitor' Bolton After North Korea Book Claim

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hit out at former National Security Advisor John Bolton, condemning the startling revelations in the latter's book as "falsehoods" in a stubborn defense of President Donald Trump.

In a statement issued Thursday night, Pompeo dismissed Bolton's book "The Room Where it Happened released on June 23. The book accuses the secretary of state and one of Trump's most vocal allies of undermining the president on foreign policy.

"I've not read the book, but from the excerpts I've seen published, John Bolton is spreading a number of lies, fully-spun half-truths, and outright falsehoods," Pompeo said in his statement, titled: "I Was In The Room Too."

"It is both sad and dangerous that John Bolton's final public role is that of a traitor who damaged America by violating his sacred trust with its people," Pompeo said. "To our friends around the world: you know that President Trump's America is a force for good in the world."

Bolton, a notorious foreign policy hawk who was a key driver in President George W. Bush's disastrous decision to invade Iraq, left the White House in September 2019 after disagreeing with the president on multiple aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

Ever since, observers have been awaiting his tell-all book detailing his time in the Trump administration. Bolton was widely criticized for not giving evidence during Trump's impeachment probe, and the excerpts so far revealed from his book have again raised questions as to why he did not speak out sooner.

Pompeo features prominently in Bolton's book. The former Kansas congressman has so far survived the rapid turnover and internal politicking of the Trump White House, emerging as one of the most influential voices within the administration and on the right wing of American politics.

But according to Bolton, Pompeo is not as loyal to Trump in private as he has been in public. Trump's North Korea outreach was reportedly a particular issue for Pompeo, and Bolton claims he described the president's strategy as having "zero probability" of success, per excerpts published by The Washington Post.

Trump and his allies have publicly lauded the president's North Korea diplomacy as a historic step towards elusive peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, but little has been achieved beyond several high-profile meetings between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

The first such meeting took place in Singapore in 2018. Before the summit, Pompeo and Bolton listened in on a call between Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, according to the new book. Both were appalled at the conversation, with Pompeo later telling Bolton he was "having a cardiac arrest" while listening. Bolton too was unimpressed, describing it as a "near-death experience."

Pompeo warned colleagues that the administration was in a "danger zone" as negotiations wore on, fearing that Trump would compromise his initial goals on North Korea simply to get some kind of a deal.

At one point in the talks, Trump agreed with Kim that U.S.-North Korean relations had been hampered by hostility from past U.S. administrations. Bolton wrote that the president "agreed with Kim's assessment, noting that there were some very militant people on the U.S. side."

Pompeo then allegedly passed Bolton a note reading, "He is so full of s***," Bolton said, though it is not clear whether the note referred to Trump or Kim.

Both foreign policy hawks, Bolton and Pompeo regularly discussed the president's conduct, according to the book. Bolton wrote that he and Pompeo both discussed resigning in protest at Trump's perceived weakness on China and Iran, the Post reported.

When Bolton left the White House, Pompeo said there "were definitely places that Ambassador Bolton and I had different views about how we should proceed."

Bolton's book is now the subject of a legal battle with the Justice Department, which has filed a lawsuit to block its publication. The Justice Department claims that the book contains classified material, but Bolton's attorney has denied the assertion and said the book has already been through a comprehensive review process.

Trump has been characteristically belligerent, dismissing Bolton as a "sick puppy" and suggesting the book has received "terrible reviews." The president described the book as "a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad." He added, "Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction."

Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, North Korea, book,traitor
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pictured with then-National Security Advisor John Bolton in the Rose Garden at the White House, on June 7, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/Getty