Bolton’s lawyer blames the White House for leaking damaging book excerpts

2020-01-27 00:05:00

A lawyer for former National Security Adviser John Bolton expressed dismay Sunday night that excerpts from Bolton’s upcoming book that badly undermine President Trump’s impeachment defense were leaked to The New York Times, appearing to blame someone at the White House for the disclosing the damaging information.

Bolton’s “manuscript was transmitted to the White House for prepublication review by the [National Security Council],” said Bolton adviser Sarah Tinsley. “The ambassador has not passed the draft manuscript to anyone else. Period.” Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, said in a statement “it is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript.”

Multiple people close to Bolton have confirmed to The Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Axios that Bolton included his recollection of Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo in his manuscript. Cooper also released a copy of the Dec. 30 letter he sent to the NSC’s preclearance officials along with the manuscript.

It isn’t clear why Bolton’s team appears to believe the White House, at a key moment in Trump’s impeachment trial, leaked the revelation that Bolton witnessed Trump saying he wanted to continue withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine until Kyiv agreed to help investigate Trump’s Democratic rivals, including Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump’s lawyers, including White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, argued Saturday there’s no evidence that Trump linked the military aid and the Biden investigations.

Having access to Bolton’s manuscript may have given “Trump’s aides and lawyers direct insight into what Mr. Bolton would say if he were called to testify at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial,” and “it also intensified concerns among some of his advisers that they needed to block Mr. Bolton from testifying,” the Times reports. Meanwhile, Bolton associates tell the Times he wants to testify because “he believes he has relevant information, and he has also expressed concern that if his account of the Ukraine affair emerges only after the trial, he will be accused of holding back to increase his book sales.”

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