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‘Trump asked China’s Xi for re-election help’

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In this file photo National Security Adviser John Bolton stands alongside US President Donald Trump as he speaks during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 17, 2018. AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Donald Trump pleaded with China’s leader Xi Jinping for help to win re-election in 2020, the US president’s former national security advisor 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.

Excerpts were published by The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

“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 advisor, 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.”

Bolton did not explicitly say whether Trump’s newly revealed actions amounted to impeachable conduct, but argued that the House should have investigated them.

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.

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