Department of Justice Launches Probe Into John Bolton’s Trump Tell-All Book

Cheryl Sanders
September 16, 2020

The Justice Department is investigating whether ex-national security adviser John Bolton illegally revealed classified information in his tell-all book, insider sources have claimed, after a lawsuit to block release came too late.

A federal grand jury has issued subpoenas as part of a probe into whether the former top Trump administration official mishandled classified documents, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported. The department accused Mr. Bolton of giving Simon & Schuster permission to publish his book before he had official signoff that his prepublication review was complete. Trump has torn into the book (and Bolton himself) ever since its publication was announced, denouncing his former official as a "sick puppy" and dismissing the "scandals" detailed in the memoir as "a compilation of lies and made-up stories, all meant to make me look bad".

Bolton's memoir presents a damning picture of Trump's White House.


Lamberth also said he was "persuaded that defendant Bolton likely jeopardized national security by disclosing classified information in violation of his nondisclosure agreement obligations". The paper also said Bolton has not received a grand jury subpoena.

The unlikely liberal champion has kept up his attacks on the president since the book's release, appearing on CNN on Monday to deride Trump as a "useful idiot" in his geopolitical dealings with Russia, China, and North Korea.

A spokesman for Javelin could not immediately be reached for comment. "Bolton was wrong", Lamberth said.


Mr. Bolton had agreed to let national security officials review any book he might eventually write before publication in order to make sure that it contained no classified information. "He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability" for possibly disclosing national security secrets.

Judge Lamberth, who is overseeing the litigation over the book proceeds, wrote in June that Mr. Bolton could have sued the government instead of unilaterally publishing if he was unhappy with the delay. "But these facts do not control the motion before the court".

Bolton's attorneys wrote that the feds failed to make a good-faith effort to clear Bolton's book in a timely manner, writing in a court filing, "The facts in the public record overwhelmingly indicate that the government violated" its obligation to act in good faith "by undertaking and conducting the second, and unprecedented, further prepublication review ... for the political objective of suppressing, or at least delaying until after the 2020 election, the publication of a book that reported facts portraying President Trump in an unfavorable and embarrassing light".


At the time of publication, President Trump made it clear that he wanted his former aide prosecuted, describing him "grossly incompetent" and "a liar".

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