Donald Trump’s ex-national security adviser John Bolton has expressed fears the White House will “suppress” his forthcoming memoir, The Room Where It Happened, telling a university audience in North Carolina the ongoing review process could interfere with his “effort to write history”.
Speaking at Duke University in Durham a matter of weeks after the Senate opting against subpoenaing him as a witness during the president’s impeachment trial, Bolton commented: “I hope, ultimately, I can get the book published… I hope it’s not suppressed.”
Asked about the president’s criticism of him on Twitter, Bolton said: “He tweets, but I can’t talk about it. How fair is that?” The former adviser, 71, left his post in September after disagreements with the president. Trump said he fired him. Bolton said he quit.
The New York Times reported in January that Bolton wrote in his manuscript for the new book that Trump wanted to continue freezing $391m (£302m) in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden – an allegation that fueled Trump’s impeachment.
On 18 December, the Democratic-led House of Representatives had approved two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstructing Congress relating to his actions in Ukraine. Trump denied wrongdoing and denounced the impeachment process as a sham. The Republican-led Senate duly acquitted Trump largely along party lines on 5 February in only the third presidential impeachment trial in US history.
The White House informed Bolton in January that his book manuscript appeared to contain “significant amounts of classified information” and could not be published in its current form.
Bolton said during Monday’s event that the White House was still doing a pre-publication review of his manuscript. “This is an effort to write history. I did the best I can… We’ll see what happens with the censorship,” he said.
Asked about what it was like to oversee Trump’s infamous 2018 meeting with Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit, Bolton said: “To pursue the right policies for America, I was willing to put up with a lot.”
“I’m not asking for martyrdom,” he added. “I knew, I think I knew, what I was getting into.”
At an event that saw protesters gather outside for a “People Vs John Bolton Rally” organised on Facebook to denounce his record as an interventionist war hawk and regime change advocate, the speaker took every opportunity to tease his new book, promising that the Ukraine revelations he included are merely “the sprinkles on an ice cream sundae”.
“You’ll love chapter 14,” he added.