Bill Barr’s Justice Department has opened a grand jury probe into whether former National Security Advisor John Bolton broke the law by disclosing classified national security information in his tell-all book.
Federal prosecutors convened a grand jury and obtained a subpoena from the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, for communications records, the New York Times reported.
The probe has the federal government pursuing potential criminal charges against a former top Trump advisor who has become one of his most fierce public critics, just months before the November elections.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: The Justice Department has opened a grand jury probe into whether former National Security Advisor John Bolton broke the law by disclosing classified national security information in his tell-all book
The DOJ, headed by Trump loyalist attorney general Bill Barr, sought to block publication of the book immediately before its release.
The government accused Bolton of disregarding a review process meant to clear books for release that might contain classified government information.
Bolton’s team argued that the government had all-but given approval only to start stalling at the end of the process.
The feds accused Bolton of breaking the deal and then ‘unilaterally deciding that the prepublication review process is complete and deciding for himself whether classified information should be made public.’
Federal District Court Judge Royce Lambert denied the government’s request, after much of Bolton’s book had already come out. ‘For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir,’ he ruled in June.
Bolton’s book, ‘The Room Where it Happened,’ offered his take on the president’s interactions with Ukraine, which led to Trump’s impeachment in Congress. Bolton wrote that Democrats in Congress should have probed Trump’s interference in DOJ probes to ‘give personal favors to dictators he liked.’
Barr has cautioned Trump to avoid public pronouncements about ongoing criminal matters, such as during the prosecution of his longtime advisor Roger Stone.
Trump tweeted in June around the release of Bolton’s book that Bolton was a ‘lowlife who should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information.’