Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the Justice Department and John Bolton.
The Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into whether President Trump’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton unlawfully disclosed classified information when he published a memoir this summer, a case that the department opened after it failed to stop the book’s publication this summer, according to people familiar with the matter.
The department has started a grand jury and subpoenaed for communications records from Simon & Schuster, which published Mr. Bolton’s memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” a highly unflattering account of his 17 months working in the Trump administration.
The investigation marks an escalation in the dramatic publication of the book. The Trump administration had sought earlier to stop publication, accusing Mr. Bolton in a lawsuit of moving forward with publication without receiving final notice that a prepublication review to scrub out classified information was complete. The director of national intelligence referred the matter to the Justice Department last month, two of the people said.
Mr. Bolton’s account of his time working for Mr. Trump plus the efforts to get the book published set off a furor. He confirmed elements of the Ukraine scheme that prompted impeachment, wrote that the president was willing to intervene in criminal investigations to curry favor with foreign dictators and said he sought China’s help in winning re election.
Trump has made it very clear that he wants his former aide prosecuted. He said on Twitter that Mr. Bolton “broke the law” and “should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information.” He has also called Mr. Bolton “a dope,” “incompetent” and the book “a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad.”
Lawyers for the National Security Council and the Justice Department expressed reservations about opening a criminal case, in part because Mr. Trump’s public statements made it seem like an overtly political act, according to two officials briefed on the discussions. Others noted that a federal judge this summer said that Mr. Bolton may have broken the law, and that the case had merit.
The department sued Mr. Bolton just a week before his book was set to hit retailers in June, and a federal judge said that it was too late to keep the book out of the hands of readers.