Bolton allegedly tried to share details of Trump's Ukraine dealings during impeachment, but the White House stopped him

John Bolton.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly tried to do his part during President Trump's impeachment hearings.

Bolton famously refused to testify during Trump's impeachment trial regarding the president's alleged quid pro quo with Ukraine, only confirming the deal months after the fact. But Bolton apparently did try to divulge some details from his book regarding Trump's Ukraine dealings — the White House just wouldn't let him, an official overseeing Bolton's book's prepublication review said in a Wednesday court filing.

Ellen Knight, a career federal official formerly overseeing the National Security Council's records, was tasked with reviewing Bolton's book and making sure it didn't contain classified information, The New York Times describes via the filing from Knight's lawyer. During that process, Bolton requested a speedier review of a part of his book regarding Trump and Ukraine so he could release it during the impeachment trial. Knight's lawyer said at that point, Bolton's memoir The Room Where it Happened didn't have any classified information and Knight was "prepared to clear the manuscript," but White House aides still denied his request.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Through her lawyer, Knight alleged that the "apolitical process" of prepublication review was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose." Bolton's book was the only time Knight had been asked to take several "unusual" steps within the review process, and she hadn't heard of predecessors having to do so either, her lawyer said.

The court filing comes a week after the Justice Department opened a criminal inquiry into Bolton's book to determine whether it shared classified information. The White House tried to shut down the publication of Bolton's book even after copies of it were already in the hands of journalists.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.