Bolton Claims Quid Pro Quo

PUBLISHED: 1:44 PM 27 Jan 2020
UPDATED: 6:45 PM 27 Jan 2020

“Revenge Playbook”: Bolton’s Book Claim Leaked In Convenient Timing

Nothing fishy about this, right? Alexander Vindman’s twin brother is the senior ‘ethics’ lawyer in charge of reviewing publications for the National Security Council, and Bolton’s book is coincidentally leaked just in time for sales and the impeachment trial.

Bolton's claim is unsubstantiated. (Source: Fox News Video Screenshot)

On Sunday evening, The New York Times was conveniently provided with claims from “multiple sources” leaking information supposedly contained in John Bolton’s new book. The National Security Council is supposed to review publications that could contain national security information BEFORE it’s released.

Yet somehow, Bolton’s “revenge playbook” and its unverified claim about quid pro quo was leaked hours before the manuscript was available for sale.

And here’s the weird part… Alexander Vindman, a key democrat witness for impeachment (but who failed miserably to show any wrongdoing), has a twin brother who is a senior ethics lawyer for the NSC. Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman is in charge of reviewing all publications by current and former NSC officials.

The timing is just too perfect.

Breitbart News reported:

A source close to the Trump administration informs Breitbart News that Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a senior ethics lawyer for the National Security Council (NSC), is in charge of reviewing all publications by current and former NSC officials.

The official added that Yevgeny Vindman could have seen former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s draft manuscript after it was submitted for prepublication review at the end of December.

The review is a standard process that allows the NSC to review book manuscripts, op-eds, or any other material for any classified material to be eliminated before publication.

The New York Times reported Sunday evening that Bolton’s draft book manuscript, which had been submitted to the NSC for prepublication review on Dec. 30, alleged that President Trump told Bolton in August 2019 that he wanted to withhold security assistance to Ukraine until it agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, among others.

It was not clear if the Times had seen the Bolton manuscript; its sources were “multiple people” who “described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.”

Bolton’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, issued a statement in which he said: “It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted.” He did not confirm or deny the Times‘ reporting on the content of the manuscript.

Yevegeny Vindman is the identical twin brother of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who is one of Democrats’ key witnesses in the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The brothers have offices across from each other.

Alexander Vindman told the House Intelligence Committee in his closed-door deposition that he told his brother, Yevgeny, about President Trump’s July 25th call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In November, Yevgeny Vindman attended his brother’s public testimony at the House impeachment inquiry.

The Wall Street Journal described Vindman as “an NSC lawyer handling ethics issues.” Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman described his brother as the “lead ethics official” at the NSC. A U.S. Office of Government Ethics web page, updated on Friday, identifies Yevegeny Vindman as the “Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official” for the NSC.

Fox News reported on Bolton’s ‘reaction’ to the leak, which has rocketed book sales:

The drama began earlier Sunday when the Times exclusively reported that Bolton’s manuscript included a claim that Trump explicitly linked a hold on Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump told Bolton in August, according to a transcript of Bolton’s forthcoming book reviewed by the Times, “that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens.”

The Times further claimed Bolton had shared a manuscript of his forthcoming book with “close associates” — prompting Bolton’s team to deny the claim, and assert that the National Security Council’s [NSC’s] review process of pending manuscripts is “corrupted” and prone to leaks.

A “pre-publication review” at the NSC, which functions as the White House’s national security forum, is standard for any former government officials who held security clearances and publicly write or speak publicly about their official work. The review typically would focus on ferreting out any classified or sensitive material in advance of publication, and could take from days to months.

Trump fired back on Twitter on Sunday to refute Bolton’s claims, saying he “NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens.” Trump went on to accuse Bolton of trying to “sell a book,” noting that Bolton did not complain publicly or privately about the aid holdup “at the time of his very public termination.”

Other conservatives also suggested Sunday evening that Bolton’s team may have leaked the information themselves while using the media as unwitting tools to juice their book sales. Online merchants began taking orders for Bolton’s book, entitled “The Room Where It Happened,” just as the Times’ story broke, with a March release date.

“A former advisor to the President and the NY Times turned impeachment hearings into a marketing strategy and there are still people wandering around wondering how we ever ended up with Donald Trump,” wrote podcast host Stephen Miller.

“Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off of a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results,” wrote The Federalist’s Sean Davis.”I suspect it will work out as well as all of Bolton’s other wars.”

Davis added, in a post that was retweeted by the president: “John Bolton is running the exact same revenge playbook against Trump that James Comey used. He’s even using the same agent and leaking to the same reporters. All because he’s mad Trump fired him for leaking and trying to start new wars. It’s so boring and predictable. … If you think anyone other than Bolton’s lawyer, publisher, or agent leaked this to 1) juice sales of his book, and 2) get revenge against Trump for firing Bolton and refusing to start a bunch of new wars, you’re an idiot.”

Mused CBS News’ “60 Minutes” correspondent John Dickerson, “Those publicists don’t miss a trick.”

Sarah Tinsley, a senior adviser to Bolton, told Fox News he had submitted a hard copy draft of his manuscript to the NSC several weeks ago for “pre-publication review,” but insisted he had not shared it with anyone else.

And, in a statement obtained by Fox News, Bolton attorney Charles Cooper lamented that the NSC review process had been “corrupted.”

He also provided his letter to the White House concerning the manuscript.

“On December 30, 2019, I submitted, on behalf of Ambassador Bolton, a book manuscript to the National Security Council’s Records Management Division for standard prepublication security review for classified information. As explained in my cover letter to Ellen J. Knight, Senior Director of the Records Management Division, we submitted the manuscript notwithstanding our firm belief that the manuscript contained no information that could reasonably be considered classified and on the assurance that the ‘process of reviewing submitted materials is restricted to those career government officials and employees regularly charged with responsibility for such reviews’ and that the ‘contents of Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript will not be reviewed or otherwise disclosed to any persons not regularly involved in that process.'”

Cooper continued: “A copy of my December 30 letter is attached. It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript.”

Bolton’s team declined to “speculate” to Fox News as to how a description of his manuscript might have leaked to the Times. Additionally, Bolton’s representatives made clear he was not denying the Times’ claim concerning the Ukraine aid holdup and the possible investigation of the Bidens.

Bolton resigned last September, and Trump has said he was fired.