Transcript for John Bolton defends role in Trump administration
Former white house national security adviser John Bolton has become one of you know who's most outspoken Republican critics, and he joins us now to talk about how much risk his formoss seems to be putting us in by not accepting defeat. Please welcome author of "The room where it happened" ambassador John Bolton. Let's start Sara, with you. You predicted that president trump wouldn't be a gracious loser. He finally took the first step to acknowledging the obvious yesterday by authorizing the start of a Biden transition, but he's still threatening more lawsuits and refusing to concede ever. Are you at all surprised by the lengths he's gone to fight this? No, Andon't think it's over yet. We passed the point where the lawsuits make much difference. He's out of legal arguments. He didn't have many good ones to begin with. He's not presented anything approaching an adequate amount of evidence. At the end of last week we were down to raw political power, with the president calling these two Republican majority leaders from the Michigan house and senate to the oval office basically to squeeze them to try to delay or overturn the certification of the Michigan election. That failed and I'm hoping that whatever other efforts he'll put up will fail as well. I think now he's just writing his own history. He's not going to concede. He's not going to admit he's lost. He's going to have a stab in the back theory and say the election is stolen. That will do considerable damage to the country and the Republican party unless its leaders stand up and repudiate it. Sir, are you still a Republican? Absolutely. I'm still a conservative Republican. Okay. Okay. Then let's talk about your party. The leadership of your party has remained largely silent about trump's effort to overturn the election outcome. We still haven't heard Mitch Mcconnell acknowledge Biden's it seems like a lot of them are worried about trump's vindictiveness coming back to haunt them. As someone who has been on the receiving end of said vindictiveness, what do you say to your fellow Republicans who are trying to avoid that by staying quiet? Basically being cowardly in my opinion. I've been saying people need to speak up. The president right now has convinced millions, perhaps tens of millions of people in this country and around the world too that the election was stolen from him. That's not true. It's not a good thing for the party or the country to have a large chunk of its population believe that that happened. The longer it goes on with basically only trump declaring that narrative, the harder it will be for people to accept the reality that he lost. I think it's importa -- I've been sayins important. I welcomed many Republican leaders who have spoken out to tell the truth to the voters. I think they can handle it. I think we need more and the sooner the better. Sir, I appreciate what you're saying here today. Better late than never I guess. Let's be clear Donald Trump has neverchanged. You started to work for him in April of 2018. The dye was cast by then. Many who criticized trump took a professional hit. You went to work for him knowing he wasn't a conservative, knowing he lacked the fitness of character, knowing he lied. We knew who he was by April 2018. How can you chastise your fellow Republicans now when you legit , enabled trump for so long? What does it say about your character? I don't think I normalized him or enabled him. I went in to help formulate national security policy because I felt notwithstanding everything said about him -- I'm not naive. I understood what people were I thought the gravity of the responsibility would have an effect on him as it did on everyone else. It turned out it didn't. Let's be clear. I'm not criticizing other Republicans. I'm urging them to come forward. I haven't named individuals. I'm not trying to play being vir chous. I'm making a political argument that it endangers the party not to refute the trump narrative. Well, welcome to the club I Ambassador, I would like to speak to you about Rudy Giuliani. You've known Rudy Giuliani a long time. You were quite critical of him in your book specifically detailing his involvement in the Ukraine controversy that led to president trump's impeachment. I believe you called him a hand grenade. What are you thinking as you watch Giuliani pedaling these ridiculous conspiracy theories? What does it say that this seems to be the best defense the president's got right now? It shows he doesn't have any defense. I think Chris Christie said on the weekend -- summed it up well. He said the legal record was a national embarrassment. We're past theegal effort. I don't think it's conceivable that any of the arguments they have left are going to prevail. Now, it's really just to help trump establish Thi myth that the election was stolen, judges were fixed. They can throw Sidney Powell over the side, but their fundamental ch hasn't changed. It's going to fail. The question is how much damage this will do to the party as we are tied to this argument that trump is making far into the future unless we're better able to refute it than we have been so far.
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