Washington — Former national security adviser John Bolton knocked President Trump on Sunday for his criticism of his onetime adviser's comment on North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons, saying the president would be "better off" if he learned a "little history."
During an interview on "Face the Nation," Bolton was asked about a comment he made on the program in April 2018, in which he said it was a requirement for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in negotiations with the U.S. and cited Libya's decision to abandon its nuclear program in 2003. Mr. Trump went on to tell Fox News in an interview last month that Bolton's invocation of the Libya model was "one of the dumbest things I've ever seen on television."
Bolton on Sunday defended his comment when asked whether that marked the downfall of their relationship, adding that "one day the president will learn a little history and he'd be better off for it."
"I guess the president's discontent with me ought to have him asking, who hired that guy to begin with?" he said on "Face the Nation." "Maybe he's the one who needs to be fired."
Bolton, who left his post at the White House last year, has found himself in the crosshairs of the White House with the publication of his tell-all book "The Room Where It Happened" last month. The White House attempted to block publication of the memoir but was unsuccessful in their efforts. The memoir is published by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS.
Bolton paints an unflattering picture of Mr. Trump in the book and accuses the president of putting his own political interest ahead of the country's. He suggested Sunday that Mr. Trump spends a great deal of time watching cable television and has his thinking shaped from television personalities and outside advisers rather than experts within his administration.
"I think that if you could clock the amount of time he spent actually in the Oval Office versus the amount of time he spends in the little dining room off the Oval Office with the cable news networks of one form or another on, it would be a very interesting statistic," Bolton said.
The former national security adviser also addressed reports regarding intelligence that a Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for the killing of American and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The New York Times and the Associated Press reported the intelligence was included in Mr. Trump's written briefing, but the White House has asserted the president was never briefed in-person on the bounty intelligence because of questions surrounding its accuracy.
Bolton rejected the suggestion from the Trump administration that the president only receives intelligence that is "100% verified," as it "would mean you give him almost nothing."
"That's just not the way the system works," he said, "and it's certainly not a decision made only by the briefer who briefs the president twice a week. That's a decision that at least when I was there, would have been made by the director of national intelligence, the director of the CIA, myself and the briefer together."
National security adviser Robert O'Brien told reporters last week that the senior career CIA officer who briefs Mr. Trump in person made the decision not to verbally brief him on intelligence about the Russian scheme because she lacked confidence in veracity of the information.