Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Then-National Security Adviser John Bolton looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a meeting at the White House on Aug. 20, 2019.

Doug Mills/The New York Times News Service

President Donald Trump said Monday that his former national security adviser, John Bolton, could face a “criminal problem” if he doesn’t halt plans to publish a new book that describes scattershot, sometimes dangerous, decision-making by a president focused only on getting re-elected.

Trump said it would be up to Attorney General William Barr to issue any charges, but hinted that the matter would end up in court. “We’ll see what happens. They’re in court – or they’ll soon be in court,” Trump said about the book, set to be released early next week.

The president accused Bolton of not completing a pre-publication review to make sure the book does not contain classified material. That contradicts statements from Bolton’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, who says his client worked painstakingly for months with classification specialists at the White House National Security Council to make changes to avoid releasing classified material.

Story continues below advertisement

Barr echoed Trump’s accusation. During an event at the White House, the attorney general said administration officials who have access to sensitive information typically sign nondisclosure agreements that require them to go through a clearance process before they can publish something based on information they accessed in the job.

“We don’t believe that Bolton went through that process – hasn’t completed the process – and, therefore, is in violation of that agreement,” Barr said. The Trump administration is “trying to get them to complete the process – go through the process – and make the necessary deletions of classified information,” Barr said.

Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” was supposed to be released in March. Its release date was twice delayed and it is now set to be released next week by publisher Simon & Schuster.

“Bolton covers an array of topics – chaos in the White House, sure, but also assessments of major players, the president’s inconsistent, scattershot decision-making process, and his dealings with allies and enemies alike, from China, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Iran, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany,” according to the publisher.

“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations,” Bolton writes in the book, according to a news release from the publisher.

In a recent op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Cooper accused the White House of using the pre-publication review process as a way to protect the president from embarrassment.

He said he sent Bolton’s manuscript to classification specialist Ellen Knight on Dec. 30, 2019. Knight and Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser for 18 months ending Sept. 10, 2019, spent nearly four months going through the nearly 500-page book multiple times, “often line by line,” Cooper said.

Story continues below advertisement

In a March 27 letter, Knight thanked Bolton for his efforts to address the classification issues, but said additional edits were required to ensure national security information was protected. She outlined her concerns in 17 single-spaced pages of typed comments, Cooper said. He said Bolton worked through that weekend and sent Knight a response the following Monday. Bolton accepted most of Knight’s suggestions and proposed alternative solutions to others, Cooper said.

In mid-April, after resolving a shorter list of remaining issues, it appeared that the pre-publication review process had been finalized. Yet when Bolton asked for a letter confirming his book was cleared for publication, Cooper said his client was told his book had prompted “very delicate” interactions at the White House and there remained “some internal process considerations to work through.”

Knight said she thought the letter might be ready soon, but more than six weeks later, Bolton still hasn’t received it. On June 8, Bolton got a letter from John Eisenberg, the president’s deputy counsel for national security, who claimed that Bolton’s manuscript still contained classified information and that publishing the book would violate his nondisclosure agreements.

“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,” according to Cooper. “This attempt will not succeed, and Mr. Bolton’s book will be published June 23.”

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies