President Trump's National Security Advisor, John Bolton, joined Brian Kilmeade to discuss the latest in Venezuela, former Vice President Joe Biden saying we have nothing to fear from China and being called out by Iran's Foreign Minister.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It's understanding that he was ready to go. He made a decision that we've been urging him to make for quite some time. And then he was diverted from that action by the Russians.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX RADIO HOST: Wow. That was some big news we did not know of then. But what can we tell you now as we look in day three of what I think is a pretty massive uprising in Venezuela. And we hope -- and I'll be honest, I hope there's a huge regime change.
No doubt about it, John Bolton feels the same way. He's the assistant to the president for the National Security Affairs, National Security Advisor himself John Bolton. John thanks for the time.
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR OF THE U.S.: Hey Brian, how are you? Glad to be with you.
KILMEADE: I'm great. I know how busy you've been. I know you've been working basically around the clock. First off, May Day did not deliver a change in leadership for the people of Venezuela. How disappointed are you?
BOLTON: Well, it's -- I think it's like you run a play, and you don't gain any yardage. You get up, you brush yourself off, you run the next play. I think that's the way interim President Juan Guaidó's looking at it. I think that's the way we look at it. The fact is they were very close. As both Mike Pompeo and I have explained.
Senior figures in the Maduro regime had agreed basically to come over to the opposition to oust Maduro from power, move to pre and fair elections hopefully in the very near future. It didn't work out. But it doesn't change our assessment that Maduro's days in power numbered his situation as unsustainable.
And the simple fact that some of the most senior figures in his government really reached a very significant agreement with the opposition shows he can't trust any of his senior advisors.
KILMEADE: I understand according to the New York Times today that military is sitting on the fence. Is that a correct assessment?
BOLTON: Well, I think the overwhelming number of service members, certainly the enlisted ranks, the junior officers; most of the senior officers want Maduro out. Some of the top leaders of course have benefited from the regime's looting of the Venezuelan economy, the oil, the drug trafficking all that goes with it.
But even they know that the National Assembly has passed an amnesty law for them. I think they are sitting on the fence only in the sense they're waiting for clear leadership to move to the opposition. That's what they thought they had a couple days ago. I think that will come again.
Let's be clear, if Maduro ordered the military to arrest Juan Guaidó, National Assembly members, the opposition in general, it's very dubious that they would carry through on that order. And that would be the end of the Maduro regime.
So, people ask but with all this opposition, how can he stay in power? There are several answers but the most important is the presence of the Cubans in very, very large numbers. They're like a parasite on the Venezuelan body politic. And they and the Russians are the ones who are basically responsible for keeping Maduro in power.
KILMEADE: So yesterday I understand Lavrov the Foreign Minister of Russia and the -- and our Secretary of State, it's counterpart they met. What could you tell took place? What was the message sent?
BOLTON: Well, it was a telephone conversation. And I think Secretary Pompeo expressed our point of view, Lavrov expressed theirs. I don't think there was any give from perspective.
I think they need to understand as the president said, you may remember when he met with Juan Guaidó's wife Fabiana Rosales in the Oval Office a few weeks ago. The Russians need to get out of Venezuela. They want trade with Venezuela. They want a deal with oil on an international market basis, that's great.
But we're not going to see a Russian military base established in Venezuela. We think the Cubans ought to go home too. I think if you could wave a magic wand and the Cubans return to Cuba as we speak, I don't think Maduro could survive until midnight as president.
KILMEADE: So, what about the Russian presence? How much would it -- how much good would it do for the president to get on the phone with Vladimir Putin, and how close are you to having that happen?
BOLTON: Well, I think we're going to show in a lot of other ways that we think this is a mistake. We are considering a variety of new steps to take against foreign involvement in Venezuela and oil matters.
We're going to tighten up a whole range of different economic sanctions we've got in place, we're going to take new steps, there are other things I can't talk about that we're going to do, and we're doing everything we can to support the people of Venezuela who have repeatedly demonstrated they want Maduro out of power; and it's a view shared by all the key governments in the western hemisphere with a couple of rare exceptions. Over 50 governments around the world recognize Guaido as the legitimate president. We think the momentum remains clearly in favor of a -- of a peaceful transfer of power in Venezuela.
KILMEADE: Rick Scott is indicating that you know, if -- if he does not go, we have to military power because we don't want another Syria. Is there a plan in place? How close are we to using the military? If the Russians are there, why not us?
BOLTON: Rick Scott has done great work on Venezuela and Cuba and policy in this hemisphere, and he and Marco Rubio, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ted Cruz, others in Congress have been very supportive, as have a lot of the Democrats on pressuring the Maduro regime. We've said -- the president said very frequently that all options are on the table. That's basically as far as we're going to go, we're certainly not going to signal what options we might consider so that we can just let Maduro worry about what are intentions are.
KILMEADE: John, do you think that -- and we're talking to John Bolton here -- we've done a good job in the Ukraine, giving the people there weapons to defend themselves when the previous administration decided not to. Would we consider arming an unarmed population?
BOLTON: You know Brian, you and I have been on your radio show together so many times, I know what a persistent questioner you are. You're on me now, I can tell. But all -- all I can say, all options are on the table and it's really up to Maduro's imagination to figure out what might -- that might include.
KILMEADE: All right, quick thing, I thought it was -- Joe Biden who's been in Congress forever, a senator forever, talked about China and the threat they bring to the table as there is widespread reports that a trade deal is eminent. Let's listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BIDEN: China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. They can't even figure out how to deal with the -- the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east -- I mean, in the west. I mean, you know, they're not bad folks, folks, but guess what? They're not -- they're -- they're competition for us.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Is that true they're not competition for us?
BOLTON: You know, that attitude is a very good reflection of the Obama administration's view on China, and that's why for eight years, China made progress and we stood -- stood still on a whole range of things, cyber warfare capabilities, military capabilities broadly. It's why China continued to abuse the rules of the world, trade organization continued to steal American intellectual property, continued to force technology transfers from American companies to the Chinese government on and on and on.
If that's -- if that's the view people have that China -- what (ph) need (ph) worry nothing (ph) there, fine then, go ahead and support Joe Biden. I think President Trump's got a very tough policy on the trade negotiations; you've got a tough policy on a range of other issues. If I were looking out for America, that's where I would go.
KILMEADE: I'll tell you what, it was so disconcerting, even Senator Schumer -- I don't see any other -- I can't believe somebody in 2019 would say China is not a threat. Can you say anything about the trade deal that might be in as early as Friday?
BOLTON: Well, you know, our negotiators are coming back, I think today or tomorrow from China. I think they need to report to the president. Their Chinese counterpart may come next week.
I think our view is we're going to have a deal or not have a deal. We're going to know it one way or the other in a fairly short period of time. But I think we need to hear what the latest is before I could really give you anything on that.
KILMEADE: I watched you Sunday, and I know that you watched Foreign Minister of Iran Zarif western trained kind of call you out. I just want to get your response to this.
(AUDIO CLIP BEGINS)
UNKNOWN MALE: So you think its Israel, Bolton--
MOHAMMAD ZARIF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER OF IRAN: Saudi Arabia and United (inaudible).
UNKNOWN MALE: All trying to exercise regime change?
ZARIF: At least. At least. They want -- they have all shown an interest in tracking the United States in to a conflict.
(AUDIO CLIP ENDS)
KILMEADE: Do you believe that? Is he right?
BOLTON: No, he's not right. Anytime I'm criticized by the regime in to Iran, it's a good day.
KILMEADE: They say that they're looking at 50 percent inflation rate. And their economy is forcing Hezbollah to put out donation bags on the light poles in Lebanon. Is that an indication to you that we're getting to them economically?
BOLTON: Yes, there's no doubt about it. And the president's decision not to extend waiver son the purchased of Iranian oil, we think even their own internal estimates; they're very worried about this. We've hurt them quite badly economically. I think that'll have a political effect inside as well.
If they want to give up their nuclear weapons program, give up their ballistic missile program, stop their support for international terrorism, stop their conventional military activities across the Middle East and a number of other things, then we're open to talking to them. It's up to them really.
KILMEADE: And lastly, there's a bit of report tu there that you don't respect the president. Is that true?
BOLTON: No it's not true, it was by a former employee disgruntled person whom I fired. I've talked to the president about it. It's very clear my view on the subject.
KILMEADE: And you feel how?
BOLTON: The president, that's the word that he used to describe is absolutely false, does not reflect my view.
KILMEADE: But your review is positive?
BOLTON: Yes, of course.
KILMEADE: OK, that's all I wanted -- just curious.
All right. So listen if something happens with this job, I hope you know you're always welcomed here and you could even stay fro the whole hour. But right now you have a country to help run. So -- and you have a president--
BOLTON: I look forward to it.
KILMEADE: Yes, who's outside speaking right now. John Bolton thanks so much.
BOLTON: Thanks a lot, Brian. Take care now.