President Donald Trump ordered Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to focus on a clampdown on over negotiating a trade with China, former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly claims.
In a terse exchange about imposing sanctions and tariffs with China, Trump reportedly told Mnuchin: “Don’t be a trade negotiator,” ordering him instead to: “Go after bitcoin [for fraud].”
“If you don’t want me on trade, fine, your economic team will execute whatever you want,” Mnuchin retorted. The exchange comes from an excerpt from Bolton’s new book, obtained by the
The conversation is said to have happened in May 2018, around the time investors were cheering bitcoin on after it against the dollar. It’s unclear from the excerpt what specifically led Trump to order Mnuchin to crack down on bitcoin and whether the two men had been talking about cryptocurrencies beforehand.
At the time, there had also been a lot of speculation about what U.S. regulators were going to do about crypto. At CoinDesk’s Consensus event that year, industry figures were calling for from regulators. Representatives from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said they “hindering” innovation.