Former Trump advisor Bolton’s tell-all memoir hits shelves | News | DW | 23.06.2020
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Former Trump advisor Bolton’s tell-all memoir hits shelves

Former Trump advisor John Bolton’s memoir of his time in the White House has gone on sale. The Trump administration had tried to halt publication of the critical book, arguing that it posed a national security threat.

Former US national security advisor John Bolton's contentious tell-all memoir of his time in the Trump Administration went on sale for the first time on Tuesday, after copies were leaked online illegally. 

His book, entitled "The Room Where It Happened," is highly critical of Trump and other members of his administration as it recounts Bolton's 17 months as National Security Advisor. 

Former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton speaks during his lecture at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. February 17, 2020. (Reurtes/J. Drake)

Bolton's book launch coincides neatly with election season heating up in the US

"At the end of the day, he had the intent to publish a book and he wanted to save the juicy bits for that," DC journalist Brandon Conradis told DW.

In interviews leading up to the book's release, Bolton said he did not think Trump was fit to be president. 

On the day of the book's release, Trump spoke out against his former security advisor on Twitter, calling him a "washed up creepster" and saying he should be in jail.

Trump had previously spoken out against Bolton, calling him a "wacko" and "incompetent" and criticizing Bolton's hawkish foreign policy.

Attempt to halt publication fails

The Trump administration had attempted to get the book's publication blocked by a court. The request was denied, though a judge did express concern over Bolton disregarding the classification review process. 

It is not yet clear whether courts will allow Bolton to reap profits from the sale of his book. The Department of Justice is currently pursuing a case against him, arguing he has endangered national security. 

The book has made waves with the details it reveals about the Trump administration. For example, Bolton accuses Trump of trying to get China to help his re-election campaign through a trade deal. He also alleges that the planet's most powerful politician asked whether Finland was a part of Russia at one meeting.

Watch video 04:15

A bombshell book to end a presidency?

But early readers have also criticized the tell-all for purported poor writing and a self-indulgent approach. 

The book has also raised tempers in the Democratic camp; lawmakers are angry that Bolton refused to testify during Trump's impeachment hearings but was more willing to trash his former boss for potential personal gain later.

Read more:  Will US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell be Trump's next security adviser?

Pompeo compares to Snowden

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday likened Bolton's actions to those of famed whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

"We all saw what's happened when people leak classified information like Edward Snowden. What John Bolton did here is not dissimilar to that," Pompeo said. "This kind of information getting out, it presents real risk and real harm to the United States of America."

A former US intelligence contractor, in 2013 Snowden revealed that US agents from the National Security Agency (NSA) were carrying out widespread surveillance on citizens around the world. The revelations led to charges of espionage and a life in exile in Russia for Snowden. The new Bolton revelations — which include support for allegations at the center of Trump's impeachment last year that he pressured Ukraine to help him get reelected — have a decidedly smaller scope.

kp/msh (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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