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Justice Department Is Reportedly Looking Into Criminal Charges Against John Bolton

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 17: Former National Security Advisor John Bolton waves goodbye to the audience after discussing the "current threats to national security" during a forum moderated by Peter Feaver, the director of Duke's American Grand Strategy, at the Page Auditorium on the campus of Duke University on February 17, 2020 in Durham, North Carolina. A sold out crowd joined to listen to reflections from John Bolton's life's work. Questions from the audience were offered to Bolton by the moderator. A scheduled protest was held outside while attendees lined up for entrance.

Federal prosecutors are currently discussing whether to charge former national security advisor John Bolton with unlawfully disclosing classified information in his new memoir about his time serving President Donald Trump, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The DOJ filed a civil lawsuit against Bolton on Tuesday seeking to delay the public release of his book, The Room Where it Happened, until officials were able to complete a prepublication review process.

President Trump on Tuesday also predicted that Bolton would face some kind of “criminal problems,” saying he considered “every conversation with [him] as president [to be] highly classified,”

According to the L.A. Times report, the DOJ is looking into Bolton’s possible criminal culpability as it simultaneously plans to intensify legal challenges to prevent the book’s publication, likely seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge by the end of Wednesday.

In the civil lawsuit, filed Tuesday against Bolton personally in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the government accused Bolton of “compromising national security by publishing a book containing classified information—in clear breach of agreements he signed as a condition of his employment and as a condition of gaining access to highly classified information and in clear breach of the trust placed within him by the United States Government.”

The civil action also alleged that Bolton’s book constitutes a breach of the nondisclosure agreement he signed prior to working at the White House which mandated that any future publications be submitted and screened before being released to the public.

Simon & Schuster, the publisher of the upcoming book, said in a statement that Bolton argues that House Democrats committed “impeachment malpractice”  by narrowly focusing their investigation into the president on his attempt to solicit politically advantageous investigations from Ukraine when “Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy.”

“Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them,” the publisher added.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday published an excerpt from the book in which Bolton alleges that the president attempted to elicit similar election assistance from China’s president Xi Jinping, telling him that his chances at re-election would be enhanced if Beijing increased agricultural purchases from American farmers.

The excerpt also claimed that Trump talked to Xi about serving more than two terms in office.  (The 22nd Amendment makes this unconstitutional.)

[Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.