President Donald Trump has come under attack from both sides of the US political spectrum as liberal Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and former White House aide and conservative hawk John Bolton declared him unfit to lead the country.
"President Trump is clearly ethically unfit and intellectually unprepared to be the president of the United States," Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, told a news briefing on Thursday.
In a new book, Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, has accused the Republican president of sweeping misdeeds, including explicitly seeking Chinese President Xi Jinping's aid to win re-election in November.
"I don't think he's fit for office," Bolton told ABC News in part of an interview aired on Thursday.
"There really isn't any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what's good for Donald Trump's re-election."
Pelosi told a weekly news conference she was consulting with her fellow Democrats on whether to subpoena Bolton about the allegations in the book, which has not yet been distributed.
If Bolton testifies before Congress, it could revive the issue of Trump's competence as he faces a stiff challenge ahead of the November 3 election from Joe Biden, the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee, and fends off criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial injustice and police brutality.
Bolton refused to testify in the House's impeachment probe last year and threatened to sue if subpoenaed. He offered to testify in the subsequent trial in the Senate, but the Republican-controlled chamber did not take him up on the offer.
Republican senators on Thursday rejected criticism that they should have called Bolton to testify, and declined to talk about Bolton's allegations.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, a staunch Trump ally, said Bolton was making "sensational" claims to sell books.
"Money drives a lot of people to say a lot of things," he said.
Trump himself has rejected the memoir as a "compilation of lies" and called Bolton, who left the White House in September, a "sick puppy" who was trying to avenge his firing.
Pompeo issued a statement on Thursday night calling Bolton a traitor and accusing him of spreading "lies, fully-spun half-truths, and outright falsehoods."
"It is both sad and dangerous that John Bolton's final public role is that of a traitor who damaged America by violating his sacred trust with its people," he added.
The US Justice Department on Tuesday sued to block Bolton from releasing the book on the grounds that the latest draft still contained classified information.
In his book, "The Room Where It Happened," Bolton said Trump encouraged China's Xi in June 2019 to build camps for its mostly Muslim Uighur minority and other Muslim groups despite his administration's criticism of China's mass detention.