Bolton’s Security Clearance in Jeopardy in Wake of Book Leaks

By Susan Crabtree

RCP 

Bolton left the White House in September 2019 in a public eruption of vitriol on both sides over the terms of his departure. He said he resigned; Trump says he fired the longtime national security hawk over foreign policy differences. More recently, Trump accused Bolton of trying to entangle the U.S. in multiple additional wars instead of ending them as the president had promised voters in 2016 he would do.

Bolton now faces the wrath of not just Trump but his legions of loyalists for volunteering to testify against the president in the impeachment trial, thus bolstering Democrats’ arguments that the president threatened Ukraine’s president with a quid pro quo over U.S. aid to extract a commitment to investigate Joe Biden and his son’s dealings in that country.

Seeing his security clearance revoked is an almost certainty for Bolton once the impeachment trial is over, according to two government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, as well as legal experts – all of whom say Bolton could face additional fallout for his role in the impeachment drama this week.

Several media outlets have reported that the irascible veteran national security official circulated a draft manuscript of the book containing the quid pro quo arguments to close associates before delivering it to the White House Records Management Directorate for pre-publication review, as required, and could face criminal prosecution if proof he did so surfaces.

“If your manuscript includes classified information, then you’re committing a felony by passing it around,” a former White House official told RealClearPolitics.

Bolton has denied leaking the book excerpts, insisting in a statement that “there was absolutely no coordination with the New York Times or anyone else regarding the appearance of information about this book.”

Anyone with ties to Bolton who remains on the National Security Council, along with other aides who testified in the House impeachment trial, such as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (and his twin brother, who also serves on the NSC), are bracing for removal.

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