Bolton breaks silence and hints he has a lot more to say about Ukraine – Business Insider
The former national security adviser John Bolton gave a lecture Monday at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, his first time speaking publicly since the start of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
On multiple occasions, he referred to his coming book, “The Room Where it Happened,” according to reports, but did not delve into the substance of the manuscript.
Asked about the July 25 call between Trump and the president of Ukraine, he said, “You’ll love Chapter 14.” He also referred to the subject of Ukraine in his book as “sprinkles on the ice-cream sundae.”
The manuscript — parts of which were previously reported on by The New York Times — is under review by the White House National Security Council, which said in a January letter that it contained “TOP SECRET level” classified information.
“You’ll love Chapter 14,” the former national security adviser John Bolton said Monday of his new book.
Bolton, who left the White House in September, was giving a lecture at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, his first public talk since the start of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Ukraine was one of the topics discussed, and his responses mentioned the manuscript for his coming book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.”
Bolton, The Atlantic reported, mentioned “Chapter 14” after being asked whether the now-infamous July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect,” as Trump describes it. During the call, which prompted a whistleblower complaint, Trump asked Zelensky to do him “a favor” and discussed former Vice President Joe Biden and a debunked conspiracy theory into the 2016 election.
“For all the focus on Ukraine and impeachment trial: To me there are portions of the manuscript that deal with Ukraine,” Bolton said during the talk, CNN reported. “I view that like the sprinkles on the ice-cream sundae, meaning, in terms of what’s in the book.”
Bolton’s book is scheduled to come out March 17, but it’s undergoing a review by the White House National Security Council.
“I say things in the manuscript about what he said to me,” Bolton said at Monday’s talk, Bloomberg News reported. “I hope they become public someday. He tweets, but I can’t talk about it. How fair is that?”
In a letter dated January 23, the White House wrote to Bolton’s lawyer saying: “The book appears to contain significant amounts of classified information. It also appears that some of this classified information is at the TOP SECRET level.” The White House also cited a nondisclosure agreement to argue “the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information.”
In early February, a spokeswoman for Bolton acknowledged receiving an update from the NSC, and, according to CNN, she noted “serious concerns that the process has been thoroughly breached and that it is more about suppressing Ambassador Bolton’s book than about classification issues.”
Bolton on Monday said he did not intend to share classified information and added that he hoped the book was “not suppressed,” Bloomberg News reported.
“This is an effort to write history, and I did it the best I can,” he added. “We’ll have to see what comes out of the censorship.”
Bolton in Durham, North Carolina.
As an unpublished manuscript, the book has already made waves, with suggestions that Bolton knows more about the pressure campaign in Ukraine that prompted Trump’s impeachment and Senate trial. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
According to a New York Times story about the manuscript that emerged during the impeachment trial, Bolton wrote that Trump directly linked the withholding of nearly $400 million in congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine to efforts to get Zelensky to announce investigations into Trump’s political rivals.
The news increased pressure on Republican senators to vote in favor of calling witnesses like Bolton to speak at the trial; he had already said he would testify if subpoenaed.
Trump denied the Times report in a series of tweets, saying, in part: “I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”
Republicans in the Senate ultimately blocked witnesses from testifying, and earlier this month the Senate voted to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment against him: obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.
In addition to hinting more about Ukraine, Bolton discussed his misgivings about the Trump administration’s approach to North Korea.