Jan 29, 2020

Bolton's lawyer: Manuscript could not reasonably be considered classified

President Trump and John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The lawyer for former national security adviser John Bolton responded on Wednesday to the White House's claim that a manuscript of Bolton's forthcoming book contains top-secret information.

What they're saying: Charles Cooper wrote in a letter, "We do not believe that any of that information could reasonably be considered classified, but given that Ambassador Bolton could be called to testify as early as next week, it is imperative that we have the results of your review of that chapter as soon as possible. Please do give me a call to let me know how we can work together toward that end."

Catch up quick: The White House made public on Wednesday a Jan. 23 letter addressed to Cooper. The letter claimed that Bolton's manuscript contains "significant amounts of classified information" that could "cause exceptionally grave harm" to U.S. national security.

  • The White House's letter was signed by Ellen Knight, the National Security Council's senior director for records, access and information security management.
  • A leak of Bolton's manuscript has already caused shockwaves in the impeachment trial against President Trump. The book explicitly alleges that Trump directly tied Ukrainian aid to investigations of Democrats Joe and Hunter Biden. Joe Biden is a leading candidate for his party's presidential nomination.

What to watch: The Senate will vote Friday on whether to call witnesses in the impeachment trial, potentially including Bolton.

Read Cooper's letter here:

Go deeper: Live updates: Senators get their turn for questions

Go deeper

White House says Bolton book contains top secret information

Photo: Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The White House says that former national security adviser John Bolton's book contains top secret information in a letter addressed to his attorney that was publicly released Wednesday.

The state of play: The development, first reported by CNN's Jake Tapper, sets up a potential legal battle between Bolton and the White House over the book's publication, which is currently scheduled for March 17.

Go deeperArrowJan 29, 2020

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic eleventh-hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the holdup of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden. Trump strongly denied Bolton's claims early Monday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 27, 2020

Bolton indicates more Ukraine details if book prevails over WH "censorship"

Former national security adviser John Bolton on stage at Duke University on Monday. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Former national security adviser John Bolton said during a talk at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, he hopes his new book is "not suppressed" by the White House, according to journalists present in the room.

This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We'll have to see what comes out of the censorship."
— JohnBolton's comments, per Bloomberg and the New York Times