WASHINGTON (Reuters) – John Bolton, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, suggested on Monday that his unpublished book contained many new revelations but said he was fighting “censorship” by the White House.
“For all the focus on Ukraine and the impeachment trial and all that, to me, there are portions of the manuscript that deal with Ukraine, I view that like the sprinkles on the ice cream sundae in terms of what’s in the book,” Bolton told a Duke University event in North Carolina during his first public remarks since Trump’s acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial.
“This is an effort to write history and I did it the best I can. We’ll have to see what comes out of the censorship.”
Bolton refused to go into the details of the Ukraine matter that led to Trump’s impeachment, and he did not offer an opinion about the outcome of the trial that acquitted the president. He instead repeatedly offered coy answers, suggesting it would all come out in his book if he is allowed to publish it.
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“I hope, ultimately, I can get the book published,” he said at one point. “I hope it’s not suppressed.”
Asked about the president’s criticism of him on Twitter, Bolton said: “[Trump] tweets, but I can’t talk about it. How fair is that?”
Bolton, 71, left his post in September after disagreements with the president. Trump said he fired him. Bolton said he quit.
Media outlets reported in October that Bolton, a leading foreign policy hawk, was planning to write a book about his time in the Trump administration.
The New York Times reported that Bolton wrote in his manuscript that Trump wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden — an allegation that fueled Trump’s impeachment.
On Dec. 18, the Democratic-led House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstructing Congress relating to his actions in Ukraine. Trump denied wrongdoing and denounced the impeachment process as a sham.
The Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump largely along party lines on Feb. 5 in only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.
Leaks about the John Bolton book
Bolton had refused to cooperate with the House impeachment investigation, but said on Jan. 6 he would be willing to testify in the Senate trial if subpoenaed to do so. Democrats sought his testimony at the trial, but the chamber voted not to call witnesses.
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The White House informed Bolton in January that his book manuscript appeared to contain “significant amounts of classified information” and could not be published in its current form.
Bolton said during Monday’s event that the White House was still doing a pre-publication review of his manuscript.
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Peter Cooney)