Bad News for John Bolton Over Trump Book

John Bolton then President Donald Trump's national security adviser walks to an news interview outside the White House

Bill Barr's Justice Department has opened a grand jury probe into whether former National Security Advisor John Bolton broke the law by disclosing classified national security information in his tell-all book.

The investigation is a significant escalation in the fraught publication of the book. Mr Trump said in a tweet. John Demers, the head of the department's national security division, then opened the criminal investigation, according to a person briefed on the case.

Bolton has denied that his memoir contained any classified information.

Mr Bolton served as President Trump's national security adviser in 2018-19. He wrote that the President only genuinely cares about his reelection and asked leaders of Ukraine and China to help him win in November.

A federal grand jury issued subpoenas to Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Bolton's book, and his literary agent, Javelin, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported. He has also called Mr. Bolton "a dope", "incompetent" and the book "a compilation of lies and made up stories, all meant to make me look bad". "Bolton was wrong", Lamberth said.

"This was Bolton's bet: If he is right and the book does not contain classified information, he keeps the upside. but if he is wrong, he stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security". The subpoenas issued by a grand jury indicate officials are probing evidence that would enable them to bring criminal charges in addition to the civil suit, though prosecutions related to the mishandling of classified information are exceedingly rare.

"While Bolton's unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy", Lamberth wrote.

"In taking it upon himself to publish his book without securing final approval from national intelligence authorities, Bolton may indeed have caused the country irreparable harm". "The full story of these events has yet to be told - but it will be".

Lamberth, who is overseeing the case, said in June that Bolton should have sued the government rather than prematurely approve the memoir for release before the process was complete.

Bolton's attorney has argued that the pre-publication review of Bolton's book was unfairly politicized by the White House after he was initially informed by an NSC official Ellen Knight that she had finished the review of his book and "was of the judgment that the manuscript draft did not contain classified information".

Bolton left the White House last September in a parting of ways he and Trump have both insisted was their idea.

The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Bolton in June asking a judge to block his book's publication, alleging he had not cleared it through the proper channels.

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