Yet amid all the fights he started and enemies he made in the Bush administration, he was not known to be an outright fabricator. And, as a lawyer who valued the written record as a tool of defense or intimidation, he always took very careful notes.

Second, disruptive as he could be, he has always regarded himself as a member of the foreign policy establishment. His goals could often be self-serving, but he saw them as aligned with the assertion of American power in the world. This is far from the same thing as Trump’s l’état, c’est moi style, in which U.S. interests are seen as synonymous with the interests of the Trump Organization. Bolton would certainly have been repelled by Trump’s striking personal deals with Xi and Erdogan—not because they’re dictators, but because Trump was subverting foreign policy for his own interests.

Third, during the House impeachment hearings, some officials testified that, when they told Bolton about Trump’s attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine, he told them to go talk to the NSC lawyer. He also was famously said to describe Rudy Giuliani’s schemes with corrupt Ukrainians as a “drug deal.” This is consistent with his claim in the book that he talked with Barr—the top law enforcement official—about Trump’s dealings with Xi and Erdogan. In other words, when it comes to following U.S. law and protocol, Bolton is a fairly straight arrow.