US Politics: Bolton book claims Trump sought Chinese help to win re-election

Trump refutes Bolton's claims
Trump has accused Bolton of breaking the law
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Donald Trump asked Chinese president Xi Jinping to help him win the forthcoming presidential election, according to claims in a new book. Tradefair brings you the latest from US politics...

This is highly classified information and [Bolton] did not have approval."

- Donald Trump

John Bolton, former national security adviser to Donald Trump, has alleged the US president sought help from China as part of his efforts to win re-election this year.

Bolton makes a number of explosive claims in his new book 'The Room Where It Happened', a memoir of his time spent working in the White House. The book isn't due to be published until June 23, but excerpts have been leaked to various US media outlets.

Trump has accused Bolton of breaking the law by publishing classified information. The Department of Justice this week sought an emergency order from a judge to stop the book from being released.

Bolton's bombshell

One of the most inflammatory allegations made by Bolton is that Trump had a discussion with Chinese president Xi Jinping about how the Asian nation's economic strength could boost Trump's re-election chances.

In a section of the book published by the Wall Street Journal, Bolton writes that Trump and Xi were talking about relations between China and the US.

"Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win," he claims.

Bolton goes into further detail about how Trump allegedly stressed the importance of agriculture in the US, and discussed how Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat could be a factor in the election result.

The former national security adviser makes several other controversial allegations in his forthcoming book. He details one instance where Trump reportedly offered to hold up a US investigation into a Turkish firm as a favour to Turkish president Recep Erdogan.

Bolton served in the White House between April 2018 and September 2019. He claims he resigned from his role in the Trump administration, but the president has insisted he fired Bolton because he disagreed "strongly" with him.

Speaking on Wednesday evening, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer disputed Bolton's version of events, insisting the request for China to help Trump get re-elected "never happened".

'Washed up'

Trump has responded to the allegations by going on the attack against Bolton, dismissing him as a "washed up guy" and saying: "I gave him a chance."

Speaking to Fox News about Bolton's decision to write his book, the president said: "He broke the law. This is highly classified information and he did not have approval."

Trump also took to Twitter to aim further criticism and insults at his former national security adviser, describing him as "incompetent", a "wacko" and a "dope".

"[Bolton] said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war," he continued.

As the Trump administration sought an emergency injunction to block the publication of Bolton's memoir, the book's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said the attempted legal action would prove pointless.

"Tonight's filing by the government is a frivolous, politically motivated exercise in futility," the company said in a statement. "Hundreds of thousands of copies of John Bolton's 'The Room Where It Happened' have already been distributed around the country and the world."

Biden responds

The publication of sections from the book drew a response from Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger Trump is set to face in the presidential election in November.

Biden, who served as vice-president under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, released a statement saying: "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."

Trump hit back at his Democratic opponent on Twitter, condemning Biden as a "total failure" in government.

"He 'bungled' everything that he touched!" the president said.

As the pair go head to head in the race for the White House, there will be a lot of focus on the coronavirus pandemic in the US and its ongoing consequences, particularly for the economy.

Trump has made his case for re-election by arguing that next year could be "one of the best ever" for the American economy and touting the recent recovery of the stock market.

Trading on Wall Street this week has been fairly volatile, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining nearly 2% on Tuesday but falling by 0.65% yesterday. The S&P 500 was also down yesterday, dropping by 0.36%.

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