John Bolton has claimed Donald Trump told Turkey’s President Erdogan he would intervene in a Southern District of New York investigation of a state-owned Turkish bank.
In an interview with ABC aired tonight the former National Security adviser said the move ‘did feel like obstruction of justice to me’.
Bolton, promoting his tell all memoir, said he had ‘never heard any president say anything like that. Ever.’
His comments were recorded before Geoffrey Berman, head of the Southern District of New York attorney’s office, was fired Saturday.
Berman’s office has been investigating Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and had prosecuted his former lawyer Michael Cohen, among other associates.
His removal sparking uproar and triggering an inquiry by Democratic lawmakers.
Bolton alleges that Trump sought to cut a deal to stop federal prosecutors in New York from investigating whether Halkbank violated U.S. sanctions against Iran in order to free an American pastor imprisoned in Turkey.
Six weeks after the pastor’s release, Bolton writes that on a call with the Turkish president ‘Trump then told Erdoğan he would take care of things’.
Asked about those claims Bolton told ABC: ‘What Erdogan wanted was basically a settlement that would take the pressure off Halkbank. And the president said to Erdogan at one point, ‘Look, those prosecutors in New York are Obama people. Wait till I get my people in and then we’ll take care of this’.
‘This idea that you give Erdogan and his family, who use Halkbank like a slush fund — in exchange for, what, some hope down the road of some other kind of treatment for Trump or the country — was very troubling.’
The episode Bolton describes occurred in December 2018, months after Berman assumed the role of U.S. attorney.
Acknowledging the prosecution of Halbank has continued Bolton said: ‘I don’t think I know enough about all the circumstances, but I tell ya, it did feel like obstruction of justice to me.’
The former national security adviser pointed out that if a U.S. bank had violated the sanctions against Iran “we would have toasted them and quite properly so.”
Bolton’s tell all memoir, The Room Where It Happened, portrays Trump as a president solely motivated by re-election efforts with a penchant for misconduct.
Allegations included agreeing to back off criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to certain dictators that make up a foreign policy characterized by ‘chaos’ and aimed at the president’s personal benefit.
Set to be released on June 23, the book also contains a claim that Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost U.S. food purchases, describing it in terms of his own election.
Trump regularly touts a deal to pause the China trade war as one of his chief accomplishments.
EXPLOSIVE CLAIMS MADE IN BOLTON’S BOOK:
- Trump agreed to ‘back off’ criminal probes as ‘personal favors’ to dictators
- Told Chinese President Xi Jinping he should go ahead with building camps the regime was constructing for Chinese Uighurs
- Put Jared Kushner in charge of several foreign policy matters
- Spent part of Osaka summit ‘pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win’ reelection by buying US crops’
- Believed Finland was part of Russia
- Said invading Venezuala was ‘cool’ and said the nation was ‘really part of the United States’
- Made it a ‘high priority’ to get Mike Pompeo to hand a copy of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ to North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un
- Did not know Great Britain was a nuclear power
- Defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi to distract attention from Ivanka Trump using her personal email
- Postponed removing the US from the Iran deal so Melania Trump could announce her Be Best campaign
- Claimed he was going to be nominated for a Noble Peace Prize for his North Korea summit
- Said he always broke up with women he dated because he didn’t like being dumped
- Referred to his former UN.Ambassador Nikki Haley as a ‘c***’ while Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump wanted her to replace Mike Pence