Hawkish U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton was not in the Oval Office last Friday when President Trump met with Kim Jong Un's North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, and one reason is that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told Trump it would be "counterproductive" to let Bolton attend the meeting, CNN reports, citing two people familiar with the matter.
Pompeo, who did attend the Kim meeting, and Bolton did not know each other well before Trump appointed Bolton to lead the National Security Council, and their already strained relationship combusted after Bolton went on TV last month and suggested North Korea might follow the grisly "Libya model," two sources tell CNN. One official told CNN that Pompeo believes Bolton is "trying to advance his own agenda." Pompeo angrily confronted Bolton after the Libya comment, and "there has been considerable tension between them ever since," a person familiar with the West Wing confrontation said. A National Security Council spokesman said "any rumor of a confrontation between Ambassador Bolton and Secretary Pompeo is categorically false."
"Trump has given his secretary of state, whom he views as intelligent and charismatic, considerable leeway on North Korea — including following his lead and keeping Bolton at arm's length from the negotiations," CNN reports. That said, Trump is known for changing his mind on advisers pretty quickly. Peter Weber