The White House said former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book contains classified and top secret information that has to be removed before publication. 

“Under federal law and the nondisclosure agreements your client signed as a condition for gaining access to classified information, the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information,” Elllen Knight, a National Security Council (NSC) aide, wrote to Bolton lawyer Charles Cooper in a letter dated Jan. 23.

Knight also noted that Bolton’s manuscript contains “significant amounts of classified information” and said the NSC would provide additional guidance after completing its examination of the text.

“The manuscript remains under review in order for us to do our best to assist your client by identifying the classified information within the manuscript, while at the same time ensuring that publication does not harm the national security of the United States,” Knight wrote.

 “We will do our best to work with you to ensure your client’s ability to tell his story in a manner that protects U.S. national security,” she added.

The letter was sent to Cooper three days before The New York Times reported that Bolton’s book alleges President Trump linked a hold on Ukraine’s security assistance to investigations of Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. 

The president denied the report as “false” and said Wednesday that he gave Bolton a job in the White House despite advisers telling him not to, and that Bolton was fired “because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now.”

The report gave new life to Democrats’ calls for additional witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, particularly Bolton. However, the timing of the leak of Bolton’s manuscript led Republicans to raise questions about Bolton’s credibility. On Wednesday, they circulated a video of Bolton’s interview in August 2019 in which he described President Trump’s phone calls with Ukraine’s leader as “very warm and cordial,” throwing a blow at Bolton’s claims in his upcoming book.

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