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John Bolton admits he’s helped plan coups in other countries while speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on live TV: ‘It takes a lot of work’

  • John Bolton told CNN that he’s helped plan coups in other countries.
  • “As somebody who has helped plan coup d’état, not here, but other places, it takes a lot of work,” Bolton said.
  • Bolton was making the case that Trump was too incompetent to have been involved in a carefully coordinated coup.

John Bolton, who served in an array of key government roles across multiple Republican administrations, casually told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he’s helped plan coups in other countries. 

The admission came on Tuesday as Bolton and Tapper discussed former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to overturn the results of a US presidential election. Bolton, who served as national security advisor in the Trump administration from 2018 to 2019, told Tapper that “nothing Donald Trump did after the election in connection with the lie about election fraud — none of it is defensible.” 

But Bolton rejected the notion that Trump’s actions were part of a “carefully planned coup d’état aimed at the Constitution.” Bolton portrayed the former president as too incompetent to be involved in such a plan.

“You have to understand the nature of what the problem of Donald Trump is. He’s — to use a Star Wars metaphor — a disturbance in the Force,” Bolton added. He said the former president’s effort to overturn the election was “not an attack on our democracy” but “Donald Trump looking out for Donald Trump.” Bolton made a similar point on CNN in 2021, stating that Trump wasn’t “capable” of staging a coup because it requires “advance thinking, planning, strategizing, building up support.”

Tapper pushed back, telling Bolton he disagreed. “One doesn’t have to be brilliant to attempt a coup,” the CNN host said. 

“I disagree with that,” Bolton said in response, adding, “As somebody who has helped plan coup d’état, not here, but other places, it takes a lot of work.” 

—Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 12, 2022


Tapper then asked Bolton if he could offer more details on the coups he’s apparently planned. Bolton refused to offer specifics beyond alluding to a failed 2019 coup in Venezuela, noting that he wrote about in his 2020 memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.” Bolton is widely viewed as a foreign policy hawk and proponent of regime change, and considered one of the chief architects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Bolton and Tapper’s discussion came as the House select committee investigating January 6 held another hearing on Capitol Hill. During the hearing a former spokesperson for the Oath Keepers — a far right group authorities say was intricately involved in the insurrection — testified to lawmakers that he’s concerned Trump could incite a civil war in the US if he’s elected again. 

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