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

A former National Security Council official accused White House and Justice Department staff of attempting to block John Bolton’s new book in court documents filed Wednesday. The accusations, if proved correct, would mean President Donald Trump’s staff interfered in the process of handling classified disclosures. 

Ellen Knight, who was the top national security official working with former national security adviser Bolton to review his book for sensitive information before publication, suggested in the documents that White House officials “commandeered” her review and attempted to label certain information as classified in order to stop the publication. Knight was forced out of the security council this summer. 

President Trump’s team already sued Bolton to stop publication of the book for national security reasons, but the court filings could have whistleblower protection implications. Bolton rejected assertions that he released classified information. “Over the course of five days and a total of 18 hours of meetings, a rotating cast of Justice Department and White House attorneys tried to persuade Ms. Knight to sign a declaration they wanted to file with their lawsuit against Ambassador Bolton,” the filing stated. Knight then said that after she declined and voiced concerns about the objectivity of the process, she received an email that her tenure would be ending in 60 days. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Bolton allegedly tried to share details of Trump’s Ukraine dealings during impeachment, but the White House stopped him – The Week – 9/23/2020
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly tried to do his part during President Trump’s impeachment hearings. […] Bolton apparently did try to divulge some details from his book regarding Trump’s Ukraine dealings — the White House just wouldn’t let him, an official overseeing Bolton’s book’s prepublication review said in a Wednesday court filing.

The Building Blocks of a Restraint Coalition – The American Conservative – 9/23/2020
The American public is increasingly supportive of a foreign policy that is more engaged diplomatically and more restrained in its use of force. […] The most overrepresented group in Washington, the “hard power primacists,” is also the one with the most destructive track record. This is the group that cheers on John Bolton and Mike Pompeo as they trash America’s reputation while putting us at greater risk of pointless wars.

Career official says White House political appointees “commandeered” Bolton book review – Axios – 9/23/2020
A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton’s explosive book on President Trump was “commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose.”

White House Accused of Intervening to Keep Bolton’s Book From Becoming Public – The New York Times – 9/23/2020
In an extraordinary 18-page document, a lawyer for the official who oversaw the book’s prepublication review, Ellen Knight, portrays the Trump administration as handling its response to the book in bad faith.

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