John Bolton has been a figure of contention lately as Democrats push for the former White House National Security adviser to testify in the Senate’s ongoing impeachment trial of President Donald Trump — and when The New York Times reported Monday that a new book by Bolton includes an allegation against Attorney General Bill Barr, the stakes only got higher. But now, the Trump administration is pushing back.
According to The Washington Times, a spokesman for the Department of Justice (DOJ) denied on Tuesday that Barr told Bolton he was concerned about Trump promising “personal favors” to the leaders of China and Turkey.
The New York Times had reported Monday that Barr told the ex-Trump adviser “he was worried that [President] Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent” investigations by the DOJ into companies in those nations.
“There was no discussion”
The allegation is reportedly included in Bolton’s upcoming book, The Room Where It Happened, which is set to be released on March 17, according to The Hill. But on Tuesday, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec shot down the claim.
“There was no discussion of ‘personal favors’ or ‘undue influence’ on investigations, nor did Attorney General Barr state that the [p]resident’s conversations with foreign leaders was improper,” Kupec said in a statement, according to The Washington Times.
She went on: “If this is truly what Mr. Bolton has written, then it seems he is attributing to Attorney General Barr his own current views — which Attorney General Barr does not agree.”
Lies and leaks
For his part, Bolton said he wasn’t behind the leak of his manuscript to the press. The former Trump adviser’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, placed the blame for the leak on the National Security Council (NSC), which had recently received a copy of Bolton’s manuscript “for standard prepublication security review.”
“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,” Cooper said in a letter shared by Fox News on Monday.
But conservatives like The Federalist’s Sean Davis aren’t so sure it wasn’t all just a publicity stunt by Bolton’s team.
“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,” Davis wrote in a tweet, according to Fox.
He later argued that 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,” Davis contended in a tweet shared by the president himself, according to Fox. “All because he’s mad Trump fired him for leaking and trying to start new wars. It’s so boring and predictable.”