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Trump spends most of his time in the Oval Office watching TV instead of listening to his advisers, John Bolton suggests

06:57 07 July 2020 Author :  

•             President Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton said in a CBS News interview on Sunday that the president was influenced more by what's on TV than by his own advisers.

•             "I think it's a combination of television and listening to people outside the government that he trusts for one reason or another," Bolton said.

•             He also expressed doubt about the White House's recent claims that the intelligence about Russian bounties on US troops in Afghanistan was not sound.

•             Bolton has been locked in a legal dispute with the White House over a series of damaging claims he made about Trump in a memoir published last month.

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton said the president paid more attention to cable news than the counsel of his advisers.

In an interview on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, the host Margaret Brennan asked Bolton if he believed the president was influenced more by what's on television or by his advisers.

"I think it's a combination of television and listening to people outside the government that he trusts for one reason or another," Bolton replied.

"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."

It has long been reported that the president spends significant amounts of time glued to cable news shows — particularly Fox News — sometimes live-tweeting their segments.

The Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have served as sounding boards and informal advisers to the president. Carlson was a guest of the White House press pool when Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June 2019 while Bolton was sent on a trip to Mongolia.

Since leaving the White House in September, Bolton has become one of the president's toughest critics.

In his memoir, "The Room Where It Happened," published last month, Bolton makes a series of highly damaging allegations about Trump, including that the president sought China's help in winning the 2020 presidential election.

The White House attempted to prevent the memoir's publication, saying it contained classified information. Trump has also said it contains lies, and he has reacted to Bolton's claims with a string of denials and insults on social media.

Bolton weighs in on the Russian-bounty fiasco

In the Sunday interview, Bolton expressed doubt about the White House's recent claims that because intelligence indicating that Russia offered to pay Taliban militants to kill US troops in Afghanistan was unverified, the president had not been briefed on it.

The White House issued the denial after reports suggested that the president chose not to take action after learning of the intelligence.

Three separate Taliban sources confirmed to Insider last week that Russia did pay extremists in the group to attack US troops in Afghanistan.

Bolton said: "I've said in countless other interviews I'm not going to disclose classified information. I've got the struggle with the president trying to repress my book on that score already.

"I will say this: All intelligence is distributed along a spectrum of uncertainty. And this intelligence, in 2020, by the administration's own admission, was deemed credible enough to give to our allies.

"So the notion that you only give the really completely, 100% verified intelligence to the president would mean you give him almost nothing. And that's just not the way the system works."

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