On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation targeting former national security adviser John R. Bolton for possibly disclosing classified information in his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.”
In June, after the Trump administration had filed a lawsuit to stop the book’s publication, Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia ruled that Bolton could proceed with the publication of the book, arguing, “With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe — many in newsrooms — the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo,” but Lamberth also added, “Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability. But these facts do not control the motion before the court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm.”
Lamberth also stated he was “persuaded that defendant Bolton likely jeopardized national security by disclosing classified information in violation of his nondisclosure agreement obligations.”
In August, John Ratcliffe, the newly installed Director of National Intelligence, referred the matter to the Justice Department, two sources told the Times, which added, “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 had agreed to let national security officials review any book he might eventually write before publication in order to make sure that it contained no classified information. The department accused Mr. Bolton of giving Simon & Schuster permission to publish his book before he had official signoff that his prepublication review was complete,” the Times noted.
Charles J. Cooper, Bolton’s attorney, said that the Trump administration had dallied in their efforts to deem if the information revealed was classified, the Times reported, noting that the National Security Council’s top official for prepublication review said Bolton had made appropriate edits regarding classified information and that the White House conducted another review. The affidavit from that review stated that the book displayed multiple instances of classified information in the manuscript.
The Times reported, “Even though Mr. Bolton did not receive a final approval letter from the White House, he told Simon & Schuster to publish anyway.”
Lamberth concluded, “This was Bolton’s bet: If he is right and the book does not contain classified information, he keeps the upside mentioned above; but if he is wrong, he stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security. Bolton was wrong.”
In June, Trump tweeted, “Washed up Creepster John Bolton is a lowlife who should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information. Remember what they did to the young submarine sailor, but did nothing to Crooked Hillary. I ended up pardoning him – It wasn’t fair.”
Washed up Creepster John Bolton is a lowlife who should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information. Remember what they did to the young submarine sailor, but did nothing to Crooked Hillary. I ended up pardoning him – It wasn’t fair!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
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