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White House Tells Bolton He Cannot Publish His Book Because It Contains National Security Information

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By Steve Straub at The Federalist Papers

The White House on Wednesday objected to the publication of a book written by President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton that depicts Trump as playing a central role in a pressure campaign on Ukraine, as the Senate impeachment trial entered a new phase.

A letter from the White House National Security Council to Bolton’s attorney said the manuscript based on a preliminary review appeared to contain “significant amounts of classified information” and could not be published without the deletion of this material. Some of the material was considered top secret, according to the letter.

“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agreements your client signed as a condition for gaining access to classified information, the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information,” the letter said.

Democrats view Bolton as a key figure who could help them solidify their case against the president, and reports about the book’s contents appear to boost their arguments in the trial. Democrats want to call Bolton, a foreign policy hawk in several Republican administrations, and a small number of other officials to testify but many Republican senators have so far resisted the idea of having any witnesses.

The letter said the White House would be in touch with Bolton’s lawyer with “detailed guidance” for manuscript revisions.

Senators began the first of two planned days of posing questions to both Trump’s legal team and the Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives who have served as prosecutors in the trial on charges of abusing power and obstructing Congress arising from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Contradicting Trump’s version of events, Bolton wrote in an unpublished book manuscript that the president told him he wanted to freeze $391 million in security aid to Ukraine until Kiev pursued investigations into Democrats, including Biden and the former vice president’s son Hunter Biden, the New York Times reported.

Bolton’s allegations go to the heart of the impeachment charges. Democrats have said Trump abused his power by using the security aid – passed by Congress to help Ukraine battle Russia-backed separatists – as leverage to get a foreign power to smear a political rival. Trump’s legal team has argued that the evidence supporting that allegation is based on hearsay.

A Bolton spokeswoman had no comment on the White House letter. Neither his publisher nor lawyer immediately responded to requests for comment.

The Senate is expected on Friday to vote on whether to call witnesses including Bolton. Democrats need four Republican senators to join them in order to get a majority in the 100-seat Senate. Republican leaders are hoping to vote as quickly as possible to acquit Trump, leaving him in office.

Trump lashed out at Bolton on Twitter. He said Bolton “couldn’t get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn’t get approved for anything since, ‘begged’ me for a non Senate approved job” and added that “if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now.”

Trump added that Bolton, who left his White House post in September, “goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?”

Trump, who has denied Bolton’s account, has said he fired Bolton. Bolton, a foreign policy hawk who served as a temporary “recess appointee” as American ambassador to the United Nations under Republican former President George W. Bush, has said he quit.

Reuters contributed to this report.

This was originally published at The Federalist Papers and was reprinted with permission.

*This article may not be reprinted without expressed permission from The Federalist Papers.

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