Bolton speaks during the United Against Nuclear Iran Summit. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz
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WASHINGTON: Hanging on a wall in John Bolton's West Wing office is a memento of his proudest achievement as national security adviser: a framed copy of President Donald Trump's order to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal.Bolton took over as national security adviser in early April.He was also a firm supporter of the Iraq war and has been a longtime advocate of tough policies toward Russia.Now, in the most influential position of his long career, the 69-year-old Bolton has softened some of those bellicose positions, at least in public, and says he is happy to follow the president's lead.While Trump has spoken admiringly of Vladimir Putin, Bolton never does that, and accused the Russian president of lying about Moscow's involvement in the 2016 presidential election.Officials across the national security apparatus, from the State and Defense departments to intelligence agencies, say Bolton has studiously avoided directly challenging Trump's declared goal of improving ties with Putin.In a recent interview with Reuters, Trump himself said Bolton has dialed back some of his harder-line positions since coming into the White House.Bolton has cemented his relationship with Trump by keeping it simple when he briefs the president.The dry, professorial style of Bolton's predecessor, H.R. McMaster, frequently left Trump impatient and fuming, multiple officials have said. IRAN FOCUSBolton has had most success with Trump on Iran.
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