John Bolton says Trump ‘not fit for office’

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz the president doesn’t have “the competence to carry out the job.”
5:41 | 06/18/20

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Transcript for John Bolton says Trump ‘not fit for office’
Coming up in a few moments. Right to our ABC exclusive with former national security adviser John Bolton ahead of that explosive new book where he presents a scathing portrait of president trump. He calls the president incompetent and claims he possibly committed impeachable offenses far beyond what congress investigated. Chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz sat down with him. It was explosive. Reporter: This is a starkly candid accounting of Bolton's 17 months in the white house, the famously hawkish former national security adviser now saying trump should not be president. He was Donald Trump's longest serving national security adviser, John Bolton at president trump's side for some of the most important national security decisions and what he saw left him disturbed. A president who puts re-election above the country's interests, says Bolton. And makes decisions for personal gain leading Bolton to a stunning conclusion. You described the president as irrattic, foolish, behaved bizarrely. You can't leave him alone for a minute. He saw conspiracies behind rocks and was stunningly uninformed. He couldn't tell the difference between his personal interests and the country's interests. I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job. There really isn't any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what's good for Donald Trump's re-election. You say that you were astonished by what you saw. A president for whom getting re-elected was the only thing that mattered even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. Well, I think he was so focused on the re-election that longer-term considerations fell by the wayside. So if he thought he could get a photo opportunity with Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone in Korea there was considerable emphasis on the photo opportunity and the press reaction to it and little or no focus on what such meetings did for the bargaining position of the United States. Reporter: Bolton in his new book out June 23rd and in our interview saying trump viewed the negotiations with the nuclear armed North Korea as theater asking how many people would be covering the event and eager to present Kim Jong-un with a trump autographed copy of Elton John's "Rocketman" CD, the nickname he had given Kim. Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months. Kim said Bolton not the only foreign leader with whom trump was trying to make deals. Bolton says trump asked China's president XI to buy U.S. Soybeans and wheat to help trump with votes from farm states, pleading with XI to ensure he'd and Russia's president, Bolton said Vladimir Putin couldn't wait to get in a room alone with Donald Trump. How would you describe trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin? I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle. I think Putin is smart, tough, he plays a bad hand extremely well. I think he sees that he's not faced with a series adversary here and he works on him and he works on him and he works on him. I don't think he's worried about Donald Trump. What happened to the dealmaker in those situations. Well, the president may well be a superb dealmaker when it comes to Manhattan real estate. Dealing with arms limitation treaties on strategic weapons, dealing in many, many other international security issues are things far removed from his life experience. When you're dealing with somebody like Putin who has made his life understanding Russia's strategic position in the world against Donald Trump who doesn't enjoy reading about these issues or learning about them, it's a very difficult position for America to be in. Reporter: But Bolton has been heavily criticized himself for not testifying in the impeachment hearing last year saying now it was because the focus was too narrow and politicized and that congress should have investigated trump for additional possible impeachable offenses saying now he heard firsthand from trump that security aid to Ukraine was directly tied to his request that Joe Biden and others be investigated by the Ukrainian president. Bolton said he was alarmed at what he described as obstruction of justice as a way of life, yet he still insists that his testimony would not have made a difference, something I press him on repeatedly in our interview airing this Sunday, Michael. Obviously has a strong word about the president but you say the book has pretty strong words about the press, even stronger than usual. Reporter: Yeah, we have heard the president say often that the press is the enemy of the people but Bolton says trump once said reporters should be thrown in prison to reveal sources adding these people should be executed. They are scum bags, one of the many shocking excerpts from the book, Michael, which is why Bolton is not at all surprised trump is trying to block its release. Thank you so much. Martha's full exclusive interview with John Bolton is airing in a one-hour special this Sunday night, 9:00 P.M. Eastern right here on ABC. Bolton's book, "The room where it happened," coming out on June 23rd.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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