Trump admits he held off on sanctions against China for concentration camps so he could settle his trade deal: report
President Donald Trump (R) during a trade meeting with China's Vice Premier Liu He (L) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, on April 4, 2019. (AFP/File / Jim WATSON)

In an interview with President Donald Trump, Axios revealed that the allegations by former national security adviser John Bolton about the president supporting, what are essentially concentration camps in China, were true.

While Trump and his White House staff have argued that the new John Bolton book is filled with lies, the president confirmed at least one thing.

"Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal," Trump explained. "And I made a great deal, $250 billion potentially worth of purchases. And by the way, they're buying a lot, you probably have seen."

"And when you're in the middle of a negotiation and then all of a sudden you start throwing additional sanctions on — we've done a lot. I put tariffs on China, which are far worse than any sanction you can think of," he added.

The "camps" are by Chinese Communist Party officials where they detain Uighurs and other Muslim minorities to "reeducate them." China claims to recognize Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam, and Protestantism in the country, but China claimed they are concerned about groups they think are terrorists.

In May 2018, Randall Schriver of the United States Department of Defense repeated claims that "at least a million but likely closer to three million citizens" were imprisoned in detention centers in a strong condemnation of the "concentration camps," Reuters reported in 2018.

The story was actually already reported by the New York Times in 2019, saying that they were shelving the sanctions to ensure the trade war would end. The Chinese claimed that they believe "terrorist ideas have taken root among Uighurs and point to outbursts of violence in recent years, particularly a deadly riot in the capital of Xinjiang in 2009," said the Times.

China hawks have encouraged the president to get tough with the country, which Trump appeared to do in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. It went so far that China said that they were close to a "cold war" with the United States.

"When you say the Magnitsky Act, just so you know, nobody's mentioned it specifically to me with regard to China," said Trump. "If somebody asked me, I would take a look at it. But nobody's asked me. I have not been spoken to about the Magnitsky Act. So if somebody asks me about it, I'd study it. But at this moment, they have not asked me about it."

Bolton claimed Trump gave President Xi the green light to keep the Xinjiang camps alive — but Trump denied the allegation. Refusing to act on the camps effectively does the same thing.

Read the Trump excuses at Axios.