FILE PHOTO: Copies of John Bolton’s book ‘The Room Where It Happened’ are pictured on display at a Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into former national security adviser John Bolton in connection with his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” The investigation centers on whether he unlawfully disclosed classified information in the book. It was opened after the DOJ received a referral from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

Grand jury subpoenas were sent on Monday to Bolton’s literary agent, Javelin Agency, and Simon & Schuster, which published the book. The subpoenas requested all communications with Bolton but did not include a grand jury subpoena for Bolton himself.

At the time of the book’s publication in June, President Donald Trump called Bolton “grossly incompetent” and “a liar.” His attorney, Charles Cooper, stated that Bolton will cooperate with the investigation but added that he “emphatically rejects any claim that he acted improperly, let alone criminally, in connection with the publication of his book.”

The DOJ attempted to halt the publication of the book in June through a civil lawsuit, arguing that it contained classified information and would compromise national security. The lawsuit was rejected, with U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth noting that the book had already been “printed, bound and shipped across the country.” Lamberth suggested at the time that Bolton might be prosecuted for his conduct. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Justice Department reportedly opens criminal probe into Bolton’s book – Axios – 9/15/2020
This is the latest step by the Trump administration to seek retribution against Bolton, whose inside-the-room allegations painted a picture of an out-of-control president whose sole priority was his own re-election. The Trump administration previously filed a lawsuit requesting that Bolton be ordered to pull the book from publication, but a federal judge ruled that the effort was too late.

The Justice Department’s Investigation of John Bolton Seems Like a Witch Hunt – Reason – 9/15/2020
Many people will rightly find Bolton to be an unsympathetic figure in this dispute: A tireless advocate for the U.S. to escalate and even start wars, Bolton never belonged anywhere near an administration that purports to be charting a less interventionist course on foreign policy matters. But President Trump selected Bolton for the job, and now he must face the consequences for that mistake, which include having to suffer Bolton’s tell-all about his time in the White House.

New York Times: Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into Bolton’s book – CNN – 9/15/2020
The Times noted that Trump has signaled that he wants Bolton prosecuted, including in tweets this summer in which he claimed Bolton “broke the law” and “should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information.” Bolton’s memoir presents a damning picture of Trump’s White House. He wrote that the President only genuinely cares about his reelection and asked leaders of Ukraine and China to help him win in November. Bolton also said Trump is woefully uninformed about basic matters of foreign policy and is obsessed with shaping media coverage of his presidency.

Lawyer says Bolton ‘will cooperate fully’ after DOJ launches probe into book – Fox News – 9/15/2020
An attorney for John Bolton said the ex-White House national security adviser will “cooperate fully” after it emerged that the Justice Department is reviewing whether he used classified information in his tell-all memoir from his experience within the Trump administration.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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