Trump: Former adviser Bolton faces charges if book released
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump said Monday that his former national security adviser, John Bolton, could face a "criminal problem" if he does not stop plans to publish a new book that describes the sometimes dangerous spread of decisions A president focused only on re-election.
Trump said it was up to Attorney General William Barr to file charges, but indicated that the matter would end in court. "Let's see what happens. They are on trial - or they will be on trial soon," Trump said of the book, which is due to be released early next week.
The president accused Bolton of not completing a pre-publication review to ensure that the book did not contain classified material. This contradicts statements from Bolton's lawyer Chuck Cooper, who says his client has worked carefully with Classification Specialists from the National Security Council of the White House for months to make changes to avoid the publication of classified material.
Barr repeated Trump's allegation. During an event in the White House, the attorney general said that officials who have access to sensitive information typically sign nondisclosure agreements that require them to go through a release process before they can publish anything based on information that they are on the job with have accessed.
"We do not believe that Bolton went through this process - the process has not yet been completed - and therefore violates this agreement," said Barr. The Trump administration "is trying to get them to complete the process - to go through the process - and to do the necessary deletions of classified information," Barr said.
Bolton's book "The Room Where It Happened: A Memory of the White House" was due to be published in March. The publication date has been postponed twice and is now to be published by Simon & Schuster next week.
“Bolton deals with a number of issues - of course the chaos in the White House, but also assessments by the main actors, the inconsistent decision-making process by the President and his dealings with allies and enemies from China, Russia, Ukraine and the north of Korea, Iran, Great Britain, France and Germany, ”says the publisher.
"It is difficult for me to identify an important Trump decision during my term of office that was not driven by re-election calculations," Bolton wrote in the book, according to a publisher's press release.
In a recent statement published in the Wall Street Journal, Cooper accused the White House of using the pre-release review process to protect the President from embarrassment.
He said he sent Bolton's manuscript to classification specialist Ellen Knight on December 30, 2019. Knight and Bolton, who was Trump's national security advisor for 18 months through September 10, 2019, have looked through the nearly 500-page book several times for nearly four months, "often line by line," said Cooper.
In a letter dated March 27, Knight thanked Bolton for his efforts to address the classification problems, but said additional changes were needed to ensure the protection of national security information. She outlined her concerns on 17 individual pages with typed comments, Cooper said. He said Bolton worked through this weekend and sent Knight an answer the following Monday. Bolton accepted most of Knight's suggestions and suggested alternative solutions for others, Cooper said.
In mid-April, after a shorter list of remaining issues had been resolved, the review process appeared to be complete before publication. However, when Bolton asked for a letter confirming that his book was released for publication, Cooper said his client had learned that his book in the White House had resulted in "very delicate" interactions and that "some internal process considerations were still in progress would have to be worked through ”.
Knight said she thought the letter could be ready soon, but more than six weeks later, Bolton still hadn't received it. On June 8, Bolton received a letter from John Eisenberg, the President's Deputy National Security Attorney, who claimed that Bolton's manuscript still contained classified information and that the publication of the book would violate his confidentiality agreements.
"This is a transparent attempt to use national security as an excuse to censor Mr. Bolton, which is contrary to his constitutional right to speak about matters of extreme public importance," said Cooper. "This attempt will not be successful, and Mr. Bolton's book will be published on June 23."
Associate press clerk Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
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