Report: Trump seeking to block publication of ‘traitor’ Bolton’s book
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Report: Trump seeking to block publication of ‘traitor’ Bolton’s book

President said to claim everything he told ex-national security adviser is classified, wants to delay publication at least until after vote; envoy Yovanovitch snags own book deal

US President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with national security adviser John Bolton in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, April 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
US President Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with national security adviser John Bolton in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, April 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US President Donald Trump told aides that his former national security adviser John Bolton is a “traitor” and that the latter’s forthcoming book should not be published, according to a Saturday report.

Two sources familiar with Trump’s conversations on the matter told the Washington Post that the president had claimed that Bolton’s book would threaten national security because everything he had told his former adviser on the matter must remain “classified.”

Bolton left the White House in September, claiming that he had resigned, but Trump has insisted that he had fired him.

In leaked passages from the book’s manuscript, Bolton says Trump told him he was conditioning the release of military aid to Ukraine on whether its government would help investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, an allegation that formed the crux of Trump’s recent impeachment.

Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” was slated to be published in March, but it has been held up by the Trump administration, with the National Security Council telling the former NSA’s attorney that the book’s latest draft “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information.” However, the NSC pledged to help revise it and “move forward as expeditiously as possible.”

But according to the Washington Post, the president is intent on preventing a publication before the November US election, and has repeatedly inquired into the books status with aides.

Then US National Security Advisor John Bolton arrives to attend an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Portsmouth, southern England, June 5, 2019. (Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP)

Trump told TV anchors during an off-the-record lunch earlier this month that the book contained “highly classified” material according to notes from one participant in the meeting that were obtained by the newspaper. It was during that lunch that the president also called Bolton a traitor.

“We’re going to try and block the publication of the book,” the president said, according to the notes. “After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House.”

“I give the guy a break. I give him a job. And then he turns on me…He’s just making things up,” Trump reportedly added.

Separately Saturday, the Associated Press reported that Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine and career diplomat who during Trump’s impeachment hearings offered a chilling account of alleged threats from Trump and his allies, has a book deal.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt confirmed that it had acquired Yovanovitch’s planned memoir, currently untitled. According to the publisher, the book will trace her long career, from Mogadishu, Somalia, to Kyiv and “finally back to Washington, DC — where, to her dismay, she found a political system beset by many of the same challenges she had spent her career combating overseas.”

“Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an announcement.

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment hearing of US President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Financial terms were not disclosed, but two people familiar with the deal told the AP that the agreement was worth seven figures, even though the book is not expected until Spring 2021, months after this fall’s election. They were not authorized to discuss negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss financial terms. Yovanovitch was represented by the Javelin literary agency, where other clients include former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser John Bolton.

“Ambassador Yovanovitch has had a 30-year career of public service in many locations, with many lessons to be drawn. This is about much more than just the recent controversy,” said Houghton Mifflin Senior Vice President and Publisher Bruce Nichols, in response to a question about why her book wasn’t coming out this year.

Yovanovitch told House investigators last year that Ukrainian officials had warned her in advance that Rudy Giuliani and other Trump insiders were planning to “do things, including to me” and were “looking to hurt” her. Pushed out of her job earlier in 2019 on Trump’s orders, she testified that a senior Ukrainian official told her that “I really needed to watch my back.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv as Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless corruption allegations against Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was involved with Burisma, a gas company there. Biden, the former vice president, is a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

According to a rough transcript released by the White House, Trump told Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy last summer that Yovanovitch “was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news.”

The allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political opponent led to his impeachment in December on two counts by the Democratic-run House. Earlier this month, the Republican-run Senate acquitted him on both counts.

Yovanovitch, 61, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine in 2016 by President Barack Obama. She recently was given the Trainor Award, an honor for international diplomacy presented by Georgetown University, and currently is a non-resident fellow at Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

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