DoJ launches criminal investigation into John Bolton’s book – report

The US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into whether former national security adviser John Bolton mishandled classified information when he published a book about his time in the Trump White House, it was reported on Tuesday.

The news was first reported by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. A DoJ spokeswoman declined to comment, as did Simon & Schuster, which published The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.

Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Bolton, said in an email: “We are aware of reports that grand jury subpoenas have been issued seeking information concerning the publication of Ambassador Bolton’s recent book.

“Ambassador Bolton emphatically rejects any claim that he acted improperly, let alone criminally, in connection with the publication of his book, and he will cooperate fully, as he has throughout, with any official inquiry into his conduct.”

The Trump administration previously sought a court order to prevent Bolton from publishing the book, which is highly critical of Trump. In seeking the injunction, the DoJ argued that the book contained classified information that could threaten national security.

A judge rejected the bid but the administration subsequently attempted to deny Bolton any profits from the bestseller, which sold 780,000 copies in its first week.

Judge Royce C Lamberth did have harsh words for Bolton, who he said failed to complete a national security review and “likely published classified materials”. Bolton, the judge said, had “exposed … himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability”.

“In taking it upon himself to publish his book without securing final approval from national intelligence authorities,” he wrote, “Bolton may indeed have caused the country irreparable harm.”

Bolton denied any such wrongdoing but Trump said his former aide “must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him” and also wrote: “He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!”

According to the Journal, federal prosecutors sent grand jury subpoenas on Monday to Bolton’s literary agent, Javelin, and Simon & Schuster. A spokesman for Javelin could not immediately be reached for comment.

The subpoenas requested all communications with Bolton, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources. The paper also said Bolton has not received a grand jury subpoena.

The Guardian

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