- The Justice Department launched a criminal investigation into former White House national security adviser John Bolton over whether he illegally disclosed classified information in his tell-all book.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that Bolton's book publisher and literary agent received federal grand jury subpoenas on Monday.
- This development marks an escalation in the legal battle between the Trump administration and Bolton over the release of his explosive book.
- "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir" offered a firsthand look from a member of Trump's inner circle into a volatile and impulsive president with little command of national security.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into former national security adviser John Bolton over allegations that he mishandled classified information related to his book.
The Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors sent grand jury subpoenas to Bolton's literary agent, Javelin, and book publisher, Simon & Schuster. This marks a significant escalation in the Trump administration's legal battle over the publication of the explosive book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir."
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Bolton in June to stop the book's release, alleging that it could compromise national security because it contained classified information. A federal judge struck down the lawsuit days later.
The judge added, however, that although the government was not justified in seeking an injunction against Bolton, his "unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns."
"Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States," US District Judge Royce Lamberth wrote in his June 20 ruling. "He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability. But these facts do not control the motion before the Court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm."
The Justice Department said in June that Bolton violated protocol and did not wait until the National Security Council cleared his book before its scheduled release. But Bolton said one official had cleared the manuscript after a months-long review and that the White House was intentionally stalling the process to prevent the release of a book that would be unflattering to President Donald Trump.
Indeed, Bolton's book sent shockwaves through the political sphere by painting a damaging picture of a volatile, impulsive, and self-aggrandizing president with an elementary command of national security and foreign policy.
"History will show he'll be right down there with James Buchanan and others of that ilk because he really, I don't think, to this day fully understands the magnitude of his responsibilities as president, and I don't think that he brings to the office the kind of attention and care and prudence that I think are required in a good president," Bolton told Business Insider in an exclusive interview last month.
Bolton added that when he first took on the role in Trump's administration, he believed the office would "shape" Trump as it had other presidents.
"But I don't think it affected him at all, and I think that we're the worse off for it," he said.
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