White House national security adviser John Bolton is expanding his influence in increasingly visible ways, pursuing his own long-standing foreign policy priorities at the risk of tensions with top administration officials — and even Donald Trump himself.
An example spilled into the public eye a week ago, when an irked Trump cryptically announced on Twitter he would undo some North Korea-related sanctions blessed by Bolton. The president's decision was quietly walked back and the sanctions remain in place.
Since joining Trump's White House, Bolton has pursued an agenda that includes trying to break Iran financially, oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, shield Americans from the reach of the International Criminal Court and toughen the U.S. posture toward Russia. He coordinated with key lawmakers, U.S. diplomatic and defense officials and the Israelis to compel Trump to slow an abrupt withdrawal of American forces from Syria.