DOJ Opens Criminal Investigation Into John Bolton's Book

U.S. President Donald Trump left meets with South Korean President Moon Jae In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington as national security adviser John Bolton right watches

U.S. President Donald Trump left meets with South Korean President Moon Jae In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington as national security adviser John Bolton right watches

The National Security Council "has determined that the manuscript in its present form contains certain passages - some up to several paragraphs in length - that contain classified national security information", the Justice Department alleged at the time.

The move prompted the head of the department's national security division to open the criminal investigation, a person briefed on the case told the newspaper.

The government accused Bolton of disregarding a review process meant to clear books for release that might contain classified government information.

Mr. Bolton's publisher Simon & Shuster and Javelin, his literary agency, have been subpoenaed for documents, the outlets said. 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". The subpoenas issued by a grand jury indicate officials are probing evidence that would enable them to bring criminal charges in addition to the civil suit, though prosecutions related to the mishandling of classified information are exceedingly rare. Bolton has said that the White House intentionally dragged its feet on approving the book in an effort to delay or avoid the publication of embarrassing information.

Bolton's book, 'The Room Where it Happened, ' offered his take on the president's interactions with Ukraine, which led to Trump's impeachment in Congress. Bolton wrote that Democrats in Congress should have probed Trump's interference in DOJ probes to 'give personal favors to dictators he liked'. TheWrap also reached out to the White House for comment but has yet to hear back. Others noted that a federal judge this summer said that Mr. Bolton may have broken the law, and that the case had merit.

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Mr. Bolton's lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, rejected the judge's view.

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.

But in his 10-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth warned Mr. Bolton that he "has gambled with the national security of the United States" and "exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability" for disclosing national security secrets. "But these facts do not control the motion before the court".

The Trump administration previously tried to block the release of the book - which was highly critical of the president - over claims that it contained classified information.

Bolton, who served for a time as President Donald Trump's national security adviser, has said he has complied with all of the revisions requested by the White House.

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