News/Politics

Trump fires John Bolton as national security adviser

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National security adviser John Bolton with President Trump in the Oval Office on Sept. 28, 2018. (Oliver Contreras / The Washington Post via Getty Images file)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had fired National Security Adviser John Bolton after a string of disagreements between the two over how the U.S. should handle North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran.

Trump announced on Twitter that he had asked for Bolton’s resignation, which he received this morning, after the president had “disagreed with many of his suggestions.”

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Trump said on Twitter.

Bolton said in a tweet that he had offered to resign last night that the president had said in response that they would “talk about it tomorrow.”

Most recently, the two had clashed over Trump’s desire to have leaders of the Taliban visit Camp David in the days before the Sept. 11 anniversary to finalize peace talks. The idea was strongly opposed by Bolton, even as officials at the State Department argued it could move the parties closer to an agreement, officials said.

Bolton has been deeply skeptical of negotiations with the Taliban. U.S. negotiators have been working under the president’s demand that a drawdown occur before November 2020 when he’s up for re-election.

Bolton had pushed Trump to take a harder line on other regimes he has deemed untrustworthy. Trump, on the other hand, campaigned on the promise to get the U.S. out of conflicts. Bolton had also clashed with other top administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

While Bolton has previously pushed for striking Iran and regime change, Trump has indicated he would like to sit down with Iranian officials, and that regime change is off the table.

When asked in the past about his divergent views with Bolton’s, Trump has indicated he didn’t have a problem with his national security adviser giving an opinion that differed from his own.

“I have some hawks,” the president said in a Meet the Press interview earlier this summer. “Yeah, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he’d take on the whole world at one time, okay? But that doesn’t matter, because I want both sides.”

This is the third national security adviser that Trump has fired. His first, Michael Flynn, was in court for a status hearing on Tuesday ahead of his sentencing for lying to U.S. officials. Trump named Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and undersecretary of state for international security, as a replacement for Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster in a tweet in March 2018.

At the time of his appointment, Bolton said in a Fox News interview that he was taken off guard by the tweet.

Trump said that he would name a new national security adviser next week.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

Shannon Pettypiece and Adam Edelman / NBC News

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