President Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly describes in a manuscript of his forthcoming book that he told Attorney General William Barr he had concerns about Trump giving favors to the leaders of Turkey and China. The New York Times reports that Barr, according to Bolton’s account, said he, too, was worried that Trump gave off the impression that he had influence over independent Justice Department investigations relating to entities in both countries. The attorney general also pointed to discussions Trump had with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
More specifically, Bolton writes that Barr specifically brought up Trump’s discussion with Xi about Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE, the Times reports. The president in 2018 lifted sanctions against ZTE, which were put in place after the firm did business with North Korea, Iran, and other countries. The attorney general also referred to comments Trump made to Erdogan in 2018 regarding a DOJ probe into Halkbank, one of Turkey’s largest state-owned banks, which was being investigated for allegedly helping Iran avoid U.S. sanctions. The department ended up indicting the bank in October for allegedly helping Iran.
The Justice Department has not spoken publicly on the matter. Bolton, his publisher, and his literary agency said they did not share the manuscript with the Times. The newspaper reported that Bolton’s discussion with Barr was included in a manuscript submitted for White House review almost one month ago.