Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s former chief of staff is calling on him to withdraw his upcoming book “immediately.”
News of Bolton’s forthcoming book swirled across headlines following an article by The New York Times published Sunday. The article reported Bolton’s draft manuscript claims President Donald Trump told him to freeze military aid to Ukraine until they launched an investigation into political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
However, Bolton’s former chief of staff Fred Fleitz penned a Fox News op-ed published on Monday in strong disagreement to Bolton reportedly releasing the book in March and called for him to withdraw it from the publisher.
“Given the importance of protecting a president’s confidential discussions with his senior advisers, I strongly disagree with Bolton’s decision to release the book before the November presidential election and call on him to withdraw it from the publisher immediately,” Fleitz wrote.
“Presidents must be able to candidly consult with their advisers without worrying they will leak these discussions to the press or obtain high-dollar book contracts to publish them. A book by a former national security adviser ahead of a president’s reelection bid may set a dangerous precedent since it could discourage future presidents from seeking advice from expert advisers on sensitive national security matters.
This is why executive privilege exists: to allow the president and other senior officials to keep certain communications and internal deliberations private if disclosing them would disrupt the functions or decision-making processes of the executive branch.”
As the report of Bolton’s upcoming book, “The Room Where It Happened; A White House Memoir,” comes amid an impeachment trial in the Senate against Trump, it has split Republican lawmakers on whether it strengthens the case to call for witnesses, as IJR previously reported.
The report also sparked a reaction from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said, “John Bolton has the evidence.” He also used the news to urge four Senate Republicans to join in calling new witnesses and evidence in the trial.
Trump, however, denied ever telling Bolton “that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” and claimed, “If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”
Some Republican lawmakers have also questioned the timing of the release of the report on Bolton’s manuscript, calling it a “selective leak.”
Bolton, Simon & Schuster, and Javelin Literary, however, denied leaking to the Times.
“Ambassador John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, and Javelin Literary categorically state that there was absolutely no coordination with the New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about his book, THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED, at online booksellers,” a joint statement said. “Any assertion to the contrary is unfounded speculation.”
Though he notes that he hasn’t seen the manuscript, Bolton’s former chief of staff said he takes Bolton and his team “at their word” that they didn’t leak to the Times. However, he said that “they are still responsible for this leak since Bolton’s explosive book was sent to the leak-prone National Security Council for a security review in December 2019 so the book could be published in the spring of 2020.”
Fleitz added, “If a manuscript of this sensitivity was to be published at all, this should happen after the election, not in the spring of 2020.”