June 16, 2020
Next week, another tell-all book about the Trump White House is due to hit the shelves. Donald Trump isn't happy about it, and perhaps surprisingly, some Democrats aren't that thrilled either.
That's because the book's author, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, declined to testify during the House impeachment of President Trump, choosing instead to save the juicy details of his White House days for his literary endeavors.
"I'd say it's too little, too late," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif. 15th District), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Cheddar in an interview on Tuesday.
"In many ways that feels like the fireman showing up to a burning building once everything's been destroyed and saying, 'Hey guys, I got this.'"
Bolton was called to testify about reports that Trump had told Bolton he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine in order to force the country to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Bolton refused to testify and said he would fight in court if he were subpoenaed.
"We tried twice," Swalwell said, referring to efforts to secure Bolton's testimony. "We tried during the House investigation and also on the Senate side. Chairman [Adam] Schiff gave him the opportunity to put an affidavit forward and he refused."
"He had a real opportunity to save his country," the congressman added. "Who knows if more than Mitt Romney would have come forward on the Republican side to vote to remove the president." As it turned out, Romney was the only GOP senator who voted to convict Trump during the impeachment trial, as other moderates, whom Democrats had staked their hopes on, ultimately sided with the president.
"It seems like purely a way to stay relevant," he said of the Bolton book, titled, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir." Swalwell himself has just published a book, "Endgame: Inside the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump."
Bolton's book is due in stores on June 23. It was originally scheduled for release in March, but according to Bolton's lawyer, classification specialists at the National Security Council scoured the manuscript for weeks to prevent the release of any classified information.
On Monday, ABC News reported that the Trump administration would go to court to try to block the release of the book. The president amplified that threat later in the day, saying that Bolton would be breaking the law if it were published in its current form.
"I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified," Trump said. "So that would mean that if he wrote a book, and if the book gets out, he's broken the law. And I would think that he would have criminal problems, I would hope so."
Given the strength of the First Amendment, efforts to block the book in court would face a high bar. And no matter what happens in court, by Sunday evening, ABC News is planning to air an extensive and exclusive interview with Bolton, putting the insider's details about his time in the White House on full display.