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White House is accused of wrongly intervening to block John Bolton book

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White House is accused of wrongly intervening to block John Bolton book

By Jonathan Stempel

 

2020-09-23T215922Z_2_LYNXNPEG8M20B_RTROPTP_4_USA-TRUMP-BOLTON-BOOK.JPG

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

 

(Reuters) - White House officials were accused on Wednesday of improperly intervening to block former national security adviser John Bolton from releasing his best-selling memoir by falsely claiming it contained classified information.

 

The accusation was made in a letter filed with a federal court in Washington by a lawyer for former National Security Council (NSC) official Ellen Knight, a career official who oversaw the prepublication review of Bolton's "The Room Where It Happened."

 

Knight had by late April cleared the memoir for its planned June 23 publication, only to then see the process "commandeered by political appointees seemingly for a political purpose," leading to a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to block publication, her lawyer Kenneth Wainstein said in the letter.

 

Wainstein also wrote that most, if not all, of the government lawyers Knight dealt with on the matter were "not entirely comfortable" with the strategy they were directed to implement toward Bolton's book.

 

This allegedly included having Michael Ellis, a politically appointed NSC lawyer and former aide to U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, an ally of President Donald Trump, conduct his own prepublication review of Bolton's book despite lacking relevant training, and declare it still contained classified information.

 

Knight also claimed she was reassigned after refusing to sign a false declaration that White House and Justice Department lawyers wanted to use in the lawsuit against Bolton.

 

The NSC said it was reviewing the letter, but "disagrees strongly" with Knight's assertion that the extra review was politically motivated, noting that "multiple high-ranking officials" with access to more information than Knight disagreed with her view.

 

"The National Security Council acted to protect exceptionally sensitive classified information that Ms. Knight simply missed," NSC spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement, noting that the White House would respond as appropriate.

 

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Knight's letter "confirms that Mr. Bolton did not receive the appropriate and required written, pre-publication approval," and it was "not surprising" that NSC officials would pay close attention to ensure classified information was not released.

 

Wednesday's filing follows published reports that the Justice Department had opened a criminal probe into whether Bolton illegally disclosed classified information, and that a grand jury had subpoenaed his publisher, Simon & Schuster, and his literary agent.

 

While the White House was unable to block the release of Bolton's book, it is still suing to collect Bolton's royalties and other payments from the book. A hearing on its request is scheduled for Thursday morning.

 

Bolton has denied wrongdoing. His lawyer Charles Cooper said in a statement he was assessing how Wainstein's letter might affect the lawsuit.

"We did not solicit the letter in any way; it came as a complete surprise," Cooper said.

 

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; additional reporting by Steve Holland and Alexandra Alper in Washington; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Tom Brown)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-09-24
 
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The book 📙 was a huge nothing-burger 🍔

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Stupid attempt! Most people have already lost any interest in this book, and now it's in the news again. 😁

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1 hour ago, Morch said:

 

Tinfoil hat stuff. How unsurprising.

Oh, look at you go copying cliches.  No doubt you've heard that one maybe less than 1000 times on CNNs 20 second sound bites, and already you're able to parrot it.  Who knows, maybe one day they will discover intelligent life in Dems believers.  Doesn't seem likely, free thought even less so as your every comment attests.

Edited by Mick501
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39 minutes ago, Mick501 said:

Oh, look at you go copying cliches.  No doubt you've heard that one maybe less than 1000 times on CNNs 20 second sound bites, and already you're able to parrot it.  Who knows, maybe one day they will discover intelligent life in Dems believers.  Doesn't seem likely, free thought even less so as your every comment attests.

 

Nah, because CNN usually doesn't do reports about the Obama administration being the scenes of any criticism leveled at Trump, or alleging that they planned it all ahead. That's what usually called a conspiracy theory. The one you offer (obviously, without a shred of support) is a rather daft example of one.

 

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2 hours ago, Phoenix Rising said:

As a base trump supporter you really shouldn't question anyone's intelligence.

Why?  The decisions/policies are invariably better than anything the other side ever talks about (even if they never do what they say).

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1 hour ago, Morch said:

 

Nah, because CNN usually doesn't do reports about the Obama administration being the scenes of any criticism leveled at Trump, or alleging that they planned it all ahead. That's what usually called a conspiracy theory. The one you offer (obviously, without a shred of support) is a rather daft example of one.

 

You must be unaware of the countless other inquires the Dems have orchestrated or tried to orchestrate.  Lack of awareness is not surprising.

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38 minutes ago, Mick501 said:

You must be unaware of the countless other inquires the Dems have orchestrated or tried to orchestrate.  Lack of awareness is not surprising.

 

You must be unaware that Obama is no longer POTUS, and that his now defunct administration did not orchestrate all them inquiries relating to Trump. Moreover, it is hardly believable (and naturally, no support offered) that they prepared for this during Obama's 8 years in power. You're just making up stuff or simply rehashing nonsense from right-wing/Trump supporters sources.

 

That you don't like Trump being the target of criticism, oversight and investigations got nothing to do with the validity of their existence. Only in Trump supporters' mind (and his own) is he beyond reproach and such.

 

Now, since you seem to have forgotten a couple of relevant words, let me refresh your memory - Birther, Benghazi.

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Although perhaps slightly off-topic, I read Bolton's book and frankly was stunned by the hundreds (if not thousands) of actual quotes in the book.  Either Bolton has an air-tight photographic memory, had a recording device with him, or he simply made up some or all of the quotes.

I'm no fan of Bolton but I've never had the belief he was a liar (in spite of his extreme and misguided right-wing view of US foreign policy).  If one accepts that as little as 10% of what he writes is true, the book is a scathing indictment of the Trump presidency.

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