Ex-NSC official accuses White House of trying to block Bolton book to satisfy Trump

Washington A former National Security Council official is accusing White House and Justice Department officials of trying to stop former national security adviser John Bolton’s book publication to satisfy Presidente Donald Trump, potentially circumventing the normal channels of handling classified disclosures.

Ellen Knight, who was the top national security official working with Bolton to review his book for sensitive information before publication, is publicly suggesting her decisions about what should be classified were overridden by White House officials, especially legal advisers close to the President. She said the White House and Justice Department may be taking steps to smear her and her team, politicize and hurt the book’s pre-review process, and prevent information about Bolton’s review from coming to light that doesn’t help the administration’s pursuit of him.
She also details how she was forced out of the National Security Council this summer.
Bolton’s legal team made public a 18-page letter from her attorney Wednesday morning. The letter essentially positions Knight as a voice akin to a whistleblower and is likely to have implications for the Trump administration’s lawsuit against Bolton to claw back his proceeds from the book, “The Room Where it Happened,” and in any criminal proceedings that may arise.
    Charles J. Cooper, a lawyer for Bolton, said they arestill assessing (the letter’s) implications for the Justice Department’s lawsuit. We did not solicit the letter in any way; it came as a complete surprise.
    CNN has reached out to the White House and National Security Council for comment.
    The revelations also cast new doubt over the Trump administration’s insistence they’ve wielded national security powers appropriately, as Knight becomes the latest in a growing cast of Trump administration officials who’ve slammed the President and his top advisers for overly political decision-making.
    Over five days in mid-June, Justice Department and White House officials tried to persuade Knight, a longtime career government official, to sign a sworn statement that would help an administration lawsuit against Bolton for publishing the book without proper White House sign-off, ella dice.
    She refused to sign it, and six days later was told her work with the NSC would end in August.
    Knight also described day-by-day her interactions with White House officials whom she believed improperly deviated from her staff’s recommendations.
      Ambassador Bolton had seemingly conducted himself in good faith overall and that she had never seen any indication during their work together that he was trying to circumvent the process. He had been gruff and demanding and expressed frustration at times during the process, but Ms. Knight always felt his intention was to cooperate with and complete the review,” according to Knight’s letter.
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