The Justice Department has closed its criminal investigation into whether President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton leaked classified information with his revealing memoir, “The Room It Happened,” According to a directly informed source.
Why is this important: The move comes a year after the Trump administration tried to silence Bolton by suing him in federal court, claiming he breached his contract by failing to conduct a pre-release review of classified information. Prosecutors said they had reached an agreement with Bolton to drop the trial in a case on Wednesday.
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What they say : “It’s full justification,” Bolton told Axios in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “They just give up.”
Background: Bolton, a prolific note-taker, tore the former president apart in his memoir and accused him of attempting to leverage US foreign policy to help him get re-elected – including by refusing military aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to investigate its political rivals. .
Bolton continues to claim that the White House’s efforts to prevent the book from being published were due to concerns about what it might reveal about former President Trump.
Trump called the book “pure fiction,” while saying Bolton should face criminal charges for leaking classified information. The former president urged his aides and the Justice Department to prevent the book from being published, drawing allegations of political interference.
A federal judge allowed Bolton to publish the book, but ruled that he “had probably published classified material” and “exposed his country to danger and to himself civil (and potentially criminal) liability”. The judge rejected Bolton’s attempt to dismiss the trial in October.
Driving the news: The DOJ file makes it clear that “the parties stipulate that this action be dismissed with prejudice” – meaning the case can never be brought again.
Between the lines: National security attorney Bradley Moss told Axios that Bolton “rolled the dice and was luckier than he could have imagined,” noting that “obviously the law was on the side of the government”.
“President Trump and his allies have no one to blame for this debacle except themselves,” Moss added. “If there had been no apparent political interference in the prepublication review process, it is more than likely that the current DOJ leadership would have allowed the civil trial and criminal investigation to continue.”
“Now Mr. Bolton keeps the money from his pound advance and avoids criminal liability.”
Timetable: The move comes following new revelations about the Trump-era Justice Department seizing files belonging to journalists and at least two prominent Democratic lawmakers.
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