John Bolton detailed on Sunday Donald Trump’s “disturbing” pattern of retaining classified material and other sensitive mementos — “a pattern that was evident to me from my earliest days,” he said. Speaking with Jen Psaki for MSNBC’s “Inside,” Bolton spoke candidly of his experience with the former president as he’s facing a federal criminal indictment for mishandling hundreds of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home and obstructing a subpoena for their return.
“I think he was kind of a collector of things that he thought were of interest to him for some reason or another: clippings, mementos, classified documents,” Bolton said. The former national security advisor noted that this practice of holding onto documents was “evident” to him in the beginning of his tenure serving the former president.
“We could see in the course of meetings with him — intelligence briefings, decision meetings — that sometimes he liked to retain things, and it became a practice just to make sure that we got them back in as many cases as we could,” Bolton said. “Obviously we failed in many cases, but it was a pattern that was evident to me from my earliest days.”
“Did he ever ask you to hold onto a document that concerned you?” Psaki asked.
He responded by pointing Psaki to what he considers the most famous example of this pattern — one that gives the advisor confidence that he doesn’t need to read the recently unsealed, 41-page indictment against Trump to know that its contents are accurate.
“The most famous, to me, demonstrates why I don’t need to read the indictment or believe its allegations are true, although I’m pretty confident that they are,” Bolton said, “was the famous tweet that he did after getting an overhead picture of a failed Iranian missile launch, which he was shown during an intelligence briefing. Didn’t give back, and it was tweeted before the intelligence officials got back to their offices.”
“There is utterly no excuse for that,” he continued. “There’s no conceivable reason for that except it made him feel good to be able to do it. That’s one example, but it’s typical of the mindset in my view.”
You can watch the full clip in the video below.