Thursday, June 18, 2020

Trump asked China’s Xi to help him win reelection, according to Bolton book

President Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 U.S. election, telling Xi during a summit dinner last year that increased agricultural purchases by Beijing from American farmers would aid his electoral prospects, according to a damning new account of life inside the Trump administration by former national security adviser John Bolton.

During a one-on-one meeting at the June 2019 Group of 20 summit in Japan, Xi complained to Trump about China critics in the United States.

But Bolton writes in a book scheduled to be released next week that “Trump immediately assumed Xi meant the Democrats. Trump said approvingly that there was great hostility among the Democrats.


“He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton writes. “He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”

At the same meeting, Xi also defended China’s construction of camps housing as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang — and Trump signaled his approval. “According to our interpreter,” Bolton writes, “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.”

The episode described by Bolton in his book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” bears striking similarities to the actions that resulted in Trump’s impeachment after he sought to pressure the Ukrainian president to help dig up dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden in exchange for military assistance. The China allegation also comes amid ongoing warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies about foreign interference in the November presidential election, as Russia did to favor Trump in 2016.

And on the Ukraine scandal itself, Bolton cites personal conversations with Trump confirming a “quid pro quo” that Trump had long denied, including an August meeting in which Trump allegedly made the bargain explicit. “He said he wasn’t in favor of sending them anything until all Russia-investigation material related to [Hillary] Clinton and Biden had been turned over,” Bolton writes.

3 comments: