Federal prosecutors reportedly weighing whether to criminally charge John Bolton

John Bolton.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Federal prosecutors are considering whether to criminally charge former National Security Adviser John Bolton with revealing classified information in his forthcoming memoir, people familiar with the matter told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

These discussions are being held at the highest levels of the Justice Department, and involve Attorney General William Barr, the Times reports.

Bolton served as President Trump's national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019. His book, The Room Where it Happened, is scheduled for release on June 23, but journalists who received advance copies revealed on Wednesday some of the memoir's more eye-opening allegations, including that Trump begged Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win his re-election and used the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to take attention away from news that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, used her personal email to conduct government business.

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On Tuesday, the Justice Department and the U.S. attorney's office in Washington filed a lawsuit attempting to block publication of the The Room Where it Happened, accusing Bolton of breaching a contract he signed when he became national security adviser. The book, the DOJ said, is "rife with classified information." Bolton's attorney, Charles Cooper, said in a statement his client spent months working with National Security Council officials to ensure any classified information was removed from the book, and the White House is trying to censor Bolton.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.