• Former National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the Trump administration is not doing enough to keep North Korea from getting nuclear weapons
  • Pyongyang could soon give the U.S. a "Christmas gift"
  • A nuclear deal with Pyongyang has been a major foreign policy goal of President Trump 

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton blasted President Trump on Sunday in an interview with Axios, saying that the administration is not doing all it can to prevent North Korea from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

"The idea that we are somehow exerting maximum pressure on North Korea is just unfortunately not true," Bolton said. He added that he doubts the Trump administration “really means it” when U.S. officials say they pledge to not let Pyongyang have nuclear weapons. Bolton said one move that Trump could use to hurt Pyongyang would be to order the U.S. Navy to intercept vessels carrying oil illegally to North Korea at sea.

If North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decides to no longer want a nuclear deal with the U.S., Bolton hopes the U.S. will say: "We've tried. The policy's failed. We're going to go back now and make it clear that in a variety of steps, together with our allies, when we say it's unacceptable, we're going to demonstrate we will not accept it."

Bolton was ousted from the administration in September due to disagreements with Trump officials on foreign policy issues. In a recent interview with NPR, Bolton said that North Korea believes Trump is desperate to reach a nuclear deal.

North Korea has set a year-end deadline for a nuclear deal with the U.S., with Pyongyang promising a “Christmas gift” for Washington. North Korea wants the U.S. to lift sanctions that are hurting its economy, while the U.S. wants North Korea to pursue a path towards denuclearization. The "Christmas gift" is likely an intercontinental ballistic missile test, a move meant to the coerce the U.S. back to the negotiating table.

Bolton has previously said that there would be no way that North Korea would give up its nuclear arsenal. U.S. and North Korean negotiators last met in Sweden in early October for negotiations, but discussions fell through on the first day.

Trump has met Kim in Vietnam and Singapore over the past two years to discuss a nuclear deal but has failed to reach a deal.