Jun 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

John Bolton plans to publish book on June 23 over objections of White House

Bolton sits next to flowers

Bolton at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Feb. 17. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton's book will be published on June 23 over the objections of the White House, which claims even after a four-month prepublication review that the manuscript contains classified information, Bolton's lawyer said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Bolton alleges in his book that President Trump tied the freezing of $391 million in security aid to Ukraine to demands for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden — a core allegation in the impeachment of the president. Trump has strongly denied the claim.

  • The book was originally scheduled to publish in March, but it was delayed by the White House.
  • Bolton has drawn criticism for staying silent during the House impeachment inquiry and Senate trial, especially after it was reported that he intended to publish relevant information about the Ukraine scandal in his book.

What they're saying: "The purpose of prepublication review is to protect national-security secrets. Regulations disallow its use 'to prevent embarrassment to a person.' Yet that’s how the White House has used the process in this case. The effort violates those regulations and Mr. Bolton’s First and Fifth Amendment rights," Bolton's lawyer Chuck Cooper argues in his op-ed.

  • Cooper maintains that Bolton "took care as he wrote to avoid revealing anything that might be classified" in the book, and he says the process of reviewing the manuscript with the National Security Council (NSC) has gone on for nearly four months.
  • Cooper says that John Eisenberg, the top lawyer on the NSC, told Bolton in a letter on Monday that publishing the book in its current state contains classified information and would violate his nondisclosure agreements.

Simon & Schuster's vice president and director of publicity said in a statement to Axios:

"In the months leading up to the publication of The Room Where It Happened, Bolton worked in cooperation with the National Security Council to incorporate changes to the text that addressed NSC concerns. The final, published version of this book reflects those changes, and Simon & Schuster is fully supportive of Ambassador Bolton’s First Amendment right to tell the story of his time in the Trump White House."

The White House referred Axios to the NSC when asked if it plans to take action in response to Bolton's book being published this month. The NSC declined to comment.

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