John Bolton might be in a heap of trouble over his book about the Trump White House. The New York Times reports that the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the former national security adviser's memoir, called The Room Where It Happened. The issue is whether Bolton broke laws on the disclosure of classified information. Subpoenas have been sent to publisher Simon & Schuster as well as to Bolton's literacy agency, Javelin, per NPR. If this goes badly for Bolton, he might have to forfeit proceeds from the book on top of whatever penalty he would face for the alleged breach of classified information. He has denied publishing classified info.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Bolton gave the go-ahead for publication before receiving final approval from the government, as the Trump administration alleges. Earlier this year, the department sued to stop the book's publication, but a federal judge ruled that it was too late because thousands of advance copies already had been distributed. But in issuing that ruling, Judge Royce Lamberth also criticized Bolton for publishing and issued an ominous warning: “This was Bolton’s bet: If he is right and the book does not contain classified information, he keeps the upside mentioned above; but if he is wrong, he stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security,” he wrote. “Bolton was wrong.” (Read more John Bolton stories.)