Mnuchin on decoupling from China: “There may be a time when we have a decoupling. That’s something the president will consider. But this president has been tougher on China than anyone.”
LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: Our next guest worked closely with John Bolton at the White House, and says Bolton has put self-promotion ahead of truth and of the interest of the country.
Joining us now with an exclusive interview is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
And, Mr. Secretary, great to have you with us.
I’m going to begin with this quote from John Bolton about you, which I think, I’m sure, that you have read.
If we could put that on the screen for the audience, please.
“Mnuchin is a Democrat, and the views that he recommended, go light on sanctions on Russia, don’t sanction the Chinese, don’t sanction Maduro, don’t sanction the North Koreans so harshly, are all the positions of a big business Democrat, which is fine in a big business Democratic-type administration.”
Mr. Secretary, he not only hates President Trump, he hates the Treasury secretary. What’s the deal?
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, Lou, it’s great to be with you.
And he didn’t like me, and he obviously doesn’t like the president, because from day one, he disagreed with the president’s strategy.
So, first, let me just say, I haven’t read the book. I have seen parts of the book. People have sent me the parts. I have sat in meetings, completely full of inaccuracies. That’s number one.
Number two, it’s outrageous that any national security adviser or any member of the president’s national security team should be able to write a book without it getting positively cleared and after the president is long gone.
The fact that John Bolton was more interested in making millions of dollars off of a book than serving the country is outrageous.
DOBBS: And the judge himself, Royce Lamberth, acknowledging that he did not have written authorization from the National Security Council review, that he was gambling with national security, but the judge also saying — and I’m not sure that I agree with him — that the horse was out of the barn.
I’m not sure I agree with that at all, in point of fact. We have had instances where judges have retrieved public books that have been published, but not been sold.
It — this is a bizarre moment in history, where a judge says, he’s reckless with national security, could have civil and criminal penalties against him as a result, but he wouldn’t stop the book.
MNUCHIN: Well, Lou, my understanding — and, again, without being an expert on the legal case, what I can tell you is, my understanding is that, when Bolton left the White House, he was asked to return notes, and he didn’t.
So, I find it hard to believe that he sits in a Principals Committee meeting in the Situation Room, which, by definition, deliberations are confidential and classified, yet he must have an incredible memory if he remembers everybody’s quotes.
But not only are many of the quotes inaccurate — even if they were accurate, by definition, they’d be classified. And it was very clear. We have done more sanctions under President Trump in this administration than the previous administrations combined. For — so, for John Bolton to say that I or the president or the Treasury Department was weak on sanctions is ridiculous.
When it comes to Iran, the president, myself, Secretary Pompeo, we’re 100 percent aligned. And, yes, it’s true John Bolton was not necessarily 100 percent aligned. But every single decision we made went to the president.
And let me tell you, it was the president’s policy, not John Bolton’s policy.