Former National Security Adviser John Bolton‘s upcoming memoir, The Room Where It Happened, is helping Democrats argue for the need to hear his testimony in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. But ahead of the book’s planned release in March, the White House is reportedly attempting to block the publication of parts of it.
According to The Hill, the Trump administration sent a letter to Bolton and claimed the manuscript contains classified information. The message in question was signed by Senior Director for Records, Access, and Information Security Management Ellen J. Knight and addressed to Bolton’s attorney January 23.
“Under federal law and the nondisclosure agreements your client signed as a condition for gaining access to classified information, the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information,” the letter reads.
According to Knight, a preliminary assessment determined that some of the material in the manuscript is “top secret,” although the National Security Council’s own records division is reportedly still in the process of examining the document.
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump took aim at Bolton on Wednesday and blasted his time in the White House. The president accused Bolton of pushing him toward war and also claimed that his conversations with the former national security adviser were classified.
“All Classified National Security. Who would do this?” the president tweeted.
If the information is classified, Trump could use this as a defense should Bolton be called to testify in the Senate trial.
NEW: White House letter to former NSA Bolton's lawyer asserts that the book manuscript "appears to contain significant amounts of classified information" and argues that it "may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information." pic.twitter.com/qOUlGD0CTj
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 29, 2020
As reported by the Toronto Star, Bolton’s book has given Democrats ammunition in their battle to hear witnesses, as well as hope that they can flip enough Republicans to provide them with the votes to do so.
“There’s no way to have a fair trial without witnesses,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, who is leading the prosecution for the Democrat-led House in the Senate.
“Don’t wait for the book. Don’t wait ’til March 17, when it is in black and white to find out the answer to your question,” he said.
Despite Schiff’s comments, the publication could be pushed back in light of the recent claim that some of the information is classified.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has expressed interest in hearing from witnesses and reportedly made the case to Senate Republicans in a closed-door meeting on Monday. Along with Romney, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has expressed interest in hearing witness testimony both before and after the news of Bolton’s manuscript.