"In terms of Bolton, he broke the law," Trump told Hannity Wednesday night." "He was a washed-up guy. I gave him a chance. He couldn't get Senate-confirmed, so I gave him a non-Senate-confirmed position, where I could just put him there, see how we worked."
"He was one of the people wanted to go into Iraq. When I asked him about it, I said -- recently -- I said, you know, about a month in, when he was about a month in, I said: What do you think? Do you think you made a mistake there?" Trump asked.
"I said: Explain that one," Trump added.
"So, the terrible, terrible thing that he did. But he broke the law, very simple, I mean, as much as it's going to be broken. This is highly classified. That's the highest stage. It's highly classified information. And he did not have approval. That's come out now very loud and very strong," Trump said.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS : John Bolton, who worked for you, has a book.
And in that book, he is claiming that -- that you asked China for help with your reelection. Your trade representative -- by the way, the U.S. trade representative is now just breaking, came out with a statement claiming that that is false and denies it.
There were just recently released documents tonight and affidavits that says: The NSC has determined that the information in the manuscript is classified as confidential, secret, top-secret levels. Accordingly, the publication, release of the room where it happened would cause irreparable harm, because the disclosure of instances of classified information in the manuscript reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage or exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.
I went back, I think it was a month before he was fired. And I have a whole series of articles. I don't have time for them all.
In an interview with my former fellow colleague, Greta Van Susteren, Bolton said: I think one thing you can be sure of -- this is just before he got fired -- is, President Trump's not going to make the mistakes of prior administrations here that succumbed to the idea that, if you give them economic benefits, you automatically count on them for following through with their commitments.
He said, on your views on Russia: The president gets criticized for being soft on Russia. I'm still waiting to see evidence of that. He's authorized us to take very strong action against election meddling by anybody, strong action against intrusions into our information technology systems by countries like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.
What is your reaction to this charge and this claim of the president, and what now? The government is saying, basically, it's compromising national security, is the way I interpret that.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, first of all, nobody, nobody has been tougher on Russia or China than I have, nobody even close.
China is paying us billions of dollars a year. They never gave us 10 cents. And Biden's son walked away with a billion-and-a-half dollars to manage, making hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars on it.
So, nobody has been tough on China, and nobody has been tough on Russia like I have. And that's -- that's on the record books. And it's not even close. The last administration did nothing on either.
And then, in terms of Bolton, he broke the law. He was a washed-up guy. I gave him a chance. He couldn't get Senate-confirmed, so I gave him a non-Senate-confirmed position, where I could just put him there, see how we worked.
And I wasn't very enamored. He went into the Middle East. He was one of the big guns for, let's go into Iraq. And that didn't work out too well. And I was against that a long time ago, before I was ever even thinking about doing what I'm doing now.
But he was one of the people wanted to go into Iraq. When I asked him about it, I said -- recently -- I said, you know, about a month in, when he was about a month in, I said: What do you think? Do you think you made a mistake there?
No, I don't think so. I don't think so.
I said: Explain that one.
So, the terrible, terrible thing that he did. But he broke the law, very simple, I mean, as much as it's going to be broken. This is highly classified. That's the highest stage. It's highly classified information. And he did not have approval. That's come out now very loud and very strong.
And I appreciate Ambassador Lighthizer, in front of the committee today, on an unrelated topic, they asked him that question. One of our friends in the Democrat Party was very nice to ask him the question. And then he said, absolutely not. Trump was tough on China.
But nobody's been tough like me. Nobody's been tough like me on China. We're taking in right now billions and billions of dollars from China. I gave a lot of it to the farmers, because the farmers were targeted by China. Nobody's ever done that.