John Bolton, who served as former US President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, said on Sunday that depending on the outcome of the case, the indictment of Trump in Manhattan could be “rocket fuel” to his 2024 presidential campaign.
“If Trump is acquitted or he gets the case dismissed because it’s not legally sufficient or for whatever reason, that will be rocket fuel, because he can say, I told you it was a political prosecution, I told you I was being picked on, and now I’ve been vindicated,” Bolton told CBS’ “Face The Nation.”
Bolton also argued that if Trump is convicted in the New York case, which stems from hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, the reaction from voters could be much different.
“If he’s convicted, however, at some point before the campaign ends, I think that will have a very different impact on people,” Bolton said. “If he’s convicted of a crime, I think most Americans actually don’t want a convicted felon to be their president.”
Bolton also said that he thinks it is a mistake for members of the GOP to continue to align so tightly with Trump.
“I think it’s a big mistake politically for Republicans to do that,” Bolton said. “And I think it’s important to stress that in this case that involves hush money to a porn star to cover up an affair that later involves cooking his company’s books, you have not heard a single Trump defender stand up and say, ‘Oh, that’s not the Donald Trump I know.”
Bolton served for 17 months as Trump’s National Security Advisor before he was fired in September of 2019.
The two have been at odds since then. Bolton has published a 592-page book in which he takes frequent shots at Trump, describing him as “erratic” and “foolish” and claiming he behaved “irrationally” and “bizarrely”.
The Justice Department sued to bar the book’s publication, claiming it contains classified information and that Bolton violated a non-disclosure agreement by writing the book. However, a federal US judge later ruled that Bolton can move forward in publishing the book.
Bolton recently said he is considering a presidential run, but doesn't have a "precise timeline" on his decision.
“I considered it very seriously in 2016, and ultimately decided not to run. If I did it this year, it would be seriously, not to be a ‘one-issue candidate,’” he said.