Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s recent book has reportedly sparked a criminal investigation at the Justice Department.
The DOJ is investigating whether Bolton criminally disclosed classified information in his book The Room Where It Happened, and a grand jury has issued a subpoena to its publisher, Simon & Schuster, for communications records, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Bolton published his book, which is critical of the president, in June after the Trump administration attempted to prevent it from being released. The administration in June asked a judge for an order to block The Room Where It Happened, but the judge denied the request, saying “the damage” was already “done” since at that point, there were “hundreds of thousands of copies” of the book out there. The judge also said, however, that Bolton had exposed himself “to civil (and potentially criminal) liability” and “likely jeopardized national security by disclosing classified information in violation of his nondisclosure agreement obligations.” Bolton has said that the book doesn’t contain classified information.
According to the Times, the director of national intelligence “referred the matter to the Justice Department last month,” and the investigation was then opened by the head of the DOJ’s national security division. Some lawyers for the National Security Council and the Justice Department, the Times also reports, “expressed reservations about opening a criminal case,” partially because Trump’s comments “made it seem like an overtly political act,” while others reportedly argued the case “had merit.” Brendan Morrow