Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to not expel American diplomats from Moscow showed "utter contempt" for President Barack Obama.
"It says you're going to be history in three weeks — and I'll reserve judgment on what I'm going to do until you're gone," Bolton told Kimberly Guilfoyle on Fox News. "He hasn't said that he's not going to expel America diplomats.
"He's putting it off. This was staged.
"He's trying to maneuver to Russian's advantage," Bolton continued. "He's trying to build the two of them together to get what I think he really wants.
"The most important concession he wants is no retaliation for the cyberattack.
"The sanctions are meaningless," he added. "The expulsion of diplomatic personnel is a temporary problem.
"What he really worries about is America going on cyber-offense in retaliation to what he apparently did during the election campaign.
"This is still very much in play," Bolton said.
Putin said Friday that he would not remove any U.S. diplomats after President Obama issued executive orders Thursday that expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two compounds in light of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other party organizations.
President-elect Donald Trump praised Putin's "great move" on Twitter.
Bolton dismissed concerns that Obama could "box-in" Trump through the sanctions.
"If Barack Obama thinks he can box the new administration in, he's sadly mistaken," he told Guilfoyle. "President-elect Trump is going to meet next week with intelligence officials to talk about the facts on the allegation of Russian efforts to meddle in the election — and he'll make up his mind accordingly.
"This is a graceless way for Obama to leave the White House — and virtually everything he did, with the exception of the [U.N.] Security Council resolution [condemning Israeli settlements], or other things he may try to do internationally, can be reversed with the stroke of a pen or the action of Congress.
"He may be active in the next three weeks, but it's really not going to have much impact."
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