Saturday, June 13, 2020

SUPER READ: Is John Bolton Under A Bus, Courtesy Of His Lawyer?

H/T to one of my brothers.

The article in question, i.e., the one I'm recommending that you read, is long, detailed, and steeped in legal niceties. It's also very enjoyable:

Here’s How John Bolton’s Lawyer Just Threw Him Under the Bus 
If you can be prosecuted for keeping a classified document in your garage, you can be prosecuted for giving it to your lawyer.

We all know that John Bolton, being John Bolton, wanted to strike at the man who fired him--Donald J. Trump, who just happens to be the POTUS. Bolton's idea was to write a book that would embarrass Trump. According to the author of this article, Kel McClanahan

the executive director of National Security Counselors and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School, where he teaches Law of Secrecy

that scheme may have gone very seriously awry with the publication of an op-ed in the WSJ by Bolton's lawyer. Here's how the article starts out, providing the background:

John Bolton, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, wanted to write a book. He knew that the White House would do everything it could to stop him. He hired a flashy white-shoe law firm to handle the prepublication review process required by the nondisclosure agreement he signed when he got his security clearance. As expected, the White House weaponized the prepublication review process against him to keep him from publishing. If he published without approval, it said, he could face severe legal consequences. 
Then his lawyer, Chuck Cooper, wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week intended to put public pressure on the White House. In it, Cooper volunteered that Bolton had violated both his NDA and perhaps a few criminal laws, including the Espionage Act. Now, even if Bolton’s book is never released, he is facing stiff penalties. As unforced legal errors go, that’s a doozy. 
Here are the two sentences that could cost Bolton a big stack of money, or worse: “He instructed me, as his lawyer, to submit the manuscript to Ellen Knight, the NSC’s senior director for prepublication review of materials written by NSC personnel. I sent Ms. Knight the manuscript on Dec. 30, days after the House had impeached the president and amid speculation that the Senate would subpoena Mr. Bolton to testify.”

See a problem here? If not, McClanahan explains:

See, here’s the thing about prepublication review: “Publication” means giving potentially classified information to anyone the government has not approved to receive it. Bolton and his lawyer committed one of the classic blunders that a national-security lawyer would have seen coming a mile away. Simply put, someone who has signed an NDA and received a clearance has to put anything they want to write through prepublication review before they can give it to anyone. Even their lawyer.  
Lawyers who represent intelligence personnel drill this into clients at the very beginning. I regularly have my clients—especially the whistleblowers—write everything they want to tell me and send it to the prepublication review office before they tell me a single word of it. It’s a major hassle, and sometimes it alerts the agency that a lawyer is involved, but it keeps them from losing their clearances or their freedom. Some agencies—like the Central Intelligence Agency—will outright refuse to even discuss a prepublication review matter with anyone but the author, let alone allow the lawyer to submit the document. 
The reason for this is simple. To an intelligence professional, there is little distinction between giving classified information to the general public and giving it to your priest. Once classified information is known by someone the government cannot control, it is in the wild and the assumption must be that it will be further disseminated. A security breach is a security breach. A television audience and a private lawyer are equally unauthorized to receive the information. It is why former CIA Director David Petraeus pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information simply because he gave it to his biographer. 

McClanahan goes on at some length to rebut every conceivable defense that Bolton might come up with. He concludes that Bolton is almost 100% screwed no matter what. As for me, I'd say it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

It appears that Bolton's most fundamental mistake--and one he of all people should have been immunized to--was to trust himself to the services of a "white shoe" law firm. Michael Flynn could have warned him about that.


  1. I always told my boys to "...learn from the mistakes of others, because you can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself."

    I believe the President once described himself as a "vary stable genius." His enemies have convinced me that he was correct.

    Time for more popcorn.

  2. Bolton’s fall flrom grace was due to Bolton. Hubris.

    1. @Bebe

      Yes. And a lesson the Deep State could well learn from.

  3. Why should Bolton even break a sweat. Look what Hillary is still getting a way with. And Mills, and Abedin, and the list goes on. The only pressure being brought to bear on Clinton is by Judicial Watch. Military personnel who committed such treachery would be in Leavenworth for decades.

    But go ahead and wring out a drop of blood from Bolton when the Feds could squeeze gallons out of the Chappaqua Crime Boss.


    1. @DJL

      "Look what Hillary is still getting a way with."

      In fact, didn't the CCB give all 60,000 emails to David Kendall, her 'lawyer', to review? Didn't a few of these contain classified info?

  4. Bolton was on the job less than a year. I never could fathom who would want to read such a book. Yes, yes, NeverTrumpers--all six of them: Bill Kristol, Jonah Goldberg, David French, and three others. Dems wouldn't buy it.

  5. I thought his book was a stunt . A Trump gotcha to get back at the President. Had to be leaked to the media at that time for greatest effect. Appears to have boomeranged, thanks to his top talent lawyer...

  6. I just found out that Noel Francisco resigned from DoJ. Have you heard this? Could it be related to Flynn case?

    In this DailyCaller article, mentioning resignation of DoJ lawyer who signed Bolton lawsuit:

    It leads me to wonder, How much should we care? How much of this is, "Farewell, ye swamp dwellers" vs something else?

    1. "Could it be related to Flynn case?"

      Short answer: No. Hunt is almost certainly a Swamp critter. Re the other two:

      "Mr. Benczkowski told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he planned to serve as head of the criminal division for only two years, and Mr. Francisco’s departure has been in the works for months, according to a department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel decisions."

      Thanks for pointing this out.

      "Since Mr. Francisco, 50, was confirmed as solicitor general in September 2017, he has gone before the Supreme Court to argue some of the most controversial positions taken by the Trump administration, most notably Mr. Trump’s decision in his first week in office to ban people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States."

  7. A very small part of me still believes that Bolton is acting as a honey pot. This seemed more likely when the Ukraine was still in the news. The book was teased as a real damaging tell all while it was under review by the Feds, and days later someone was escorted from the white house, assumed to be a leaker. And yet no one could tell you much about the book. Then a honey trap on Ukraine made sense. Now I admit that Bolton as a trap now confirming that everything was above board doesn't deliver any devastating blow to the left. Truth does not matter now. Laws don't matter. Judges rule out of political opinion rather than law and justice. Truly scary times with mob rule. Get ready for the riots on election night. It doesn't matter how conservative the majority is when the infrastructure of DA's and judges outright refuse to prosecute the immature who react violently when they don't get what they want through the ballot box.