During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, John Bolton admitted to planning foreign coups and highlighted Venezuela.
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John Bolton, a former US national security adviser, claimed credit for efforts to overthrow foreign leaders, claiming he was a part of those efforts while suggesting that former President Donald Trump lacked the foresight to carry out his own coup at home.
Following the congressional hearing on the Capitol riot on January 6, Bolton told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the former president could not have carried out a “carefully planned coup d’etat” because “that’s not the way Donald Trump does things.”
Bolton stood his ground, stating that he had personally engaged in the overthrow of foreign governments and that such initiatives involve extensive planning, in response to the TV host’s claim that “one doesn’t have to be brilliant to attempt a coup.”
“I disagree with that. As someone who has helped plan coup d’etats – not here but, you know, other places – it takes a lot of work,” the former official went on. “And that’s not what [Trump] did. It was just stumbling around from one idea to another.”
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Bolton refused to elaborate when Tapper pressed for further information, but he did highlight Venezuela, where US-backed opposition figures tried to topple President Nicolas Maduro in 2019 but were unsuccessful in sparking widespread security force defections.
He said, “Not that we had all that much to do with it, but I saw what it took for an opposition to try and overturn an illegally elected president and they failed.” The efforts in Venezuela “turned out not to be successful,” he claimed.
When the coup attempt was underway, Bolton, who was then serving as Trump’s national security adviser, openly backed opposition leader Juan Guaido. He even sent messages on social media to top Venezuelan officials pleading with them to join the endeavor. In remarks to reporters at the time, he insisted Guaido was Venezuela’s “legitimate” leader and claimed “this is clearly not a coup.”
The CNN anchor pressed Bolton on his statements about a coup, adding, “I feel like there’s other stuff you’re not telling me,” and Bolton said, “I’m sure there is,” without providing any other information.
Since the 1980s, Bolton has held prominent positions for several administrations, serving as the assistant attorney general for former President Ronald Reagan, a State Department representative for former president George H. W. Bush, and then as UN ambassador for former president George W. Bush. Disagreements with the president caused him to leave the Trump administration early, and he did so in the midst of a heated public dispute with the president.