Trump Told Treasury Secretary to ‘Go After’ Bitcoin, Bolton Book Reportedly Claims
President Donald Trump ordered Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to focus on crackdown on Bitcoin to negotiate a trade with China, former national security adviser John Bolton claims.
In a skimpy exchange of sanctions and tariffs with China, Trump reportedly said to Mnuchin, "Don't be a trade negotiator," and instead ordered Mnuchin to "investigate Bitcoin."
"If you don't want me to trade, your business team will do whatever you want," Mnuchin said. The exchange comes from an excerpt from Bolton's new book that the Washington Examiner received.
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The conversation is said to have taken place in May 2018, around the time investors were cheering on Bitcoin after rising 33% against the dollar. The extract does not show what specifically caused Trump to order Mnuchin to act against Bitcoin and whether the two men had previously spoken about cryptocurrencies.
There was also a lot of speculation at the time about what U.S. regulators would do about crypto. At CoinDesk's consensus event this year, industry indicators demanded more clarity from regulators. Representatives of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said they wanted to prevent innovation from being hindered.
See also: US Financial Crime Watchdog Preparing "Important" Crypto Rules, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Warns
Trump made his own thoughts on Bitcoin abundantly clear last summer.
Related topics: Trump told the Treasury Secretary to investigate Bitcoin, Bolton Book claims to have claimed
"I'm not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are not money and are very volatile and based on air," he tweeted. "Unregulated crypto assets can promote illegal behavior, including drug trafficking and other illegal activities."
But Mnuchin, one of the longest serving members of the Trump administration, has chosen a more moderate approach. He may have no plans to buy Bitcoin, but has no problem with digital asset initiatives like the Libra project as long as they comply with U.S. regulations.
Bolton's book "The Room Where It Happened" is scheduled for release on June 23. The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Bolton asking the court to end publication because it contains classified information.
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