WASHINGTON – The White House has told former national security adviser John Bolton that the manuscript of his forthcoming memoir still contains classified material and could present a national security threat. But Bolton’s lawyer said Wednesday that publication will go ahead as planned on June 23 and he accused the White House of unfairly trying to keep it on ice.
John Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel, wrote Bolton attorney Charles Cooper this week raising concerns that the manuscript for “The Room Where It Happened” still “contains classified information.”
“As we advised your client when he signed the nondisclosure agreements, and as he should be well as aware as Assistant to the President for the National Security Affairs in this administration, the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could be exploited by a foreign power, thereby causing significant harm to the national security of the United States,” Eisenberg wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
Eisenberg added that Bolton would be provided with necessary redactions from the White House no later than June 19.
Cooper, writing in The Wall Street Journal, said White House lawyers have slow-walked the process because “President Trump simply doesn’t want John Bolton to publish his book.”
“This is a transparent attempt to use national security as a pretext to censor Mr. Bolton, in violation of his constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public import,” Cooper wrote. “This attempt will not succeed, and Mr. Bolton’s book will be published June 23.”
Leaked passages from the manuscript roiled Washington in the midst of Trump’s impeachment trial. Included was the revelation that Bolton said Trump told him he was conditioning the release of military aid to Ukraine on whether Ukraine's government would help investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The younger Biden was paid by a gas company in Ukraine to serve as a board member.
Bolton initially submitted the transcript as required to Ellen Knight, the National Security Council’s senior director for prepublication review of materials written by NSC personnel, on Dec. 30, according to Cooper.