Blasting John Bolton's refusal to testify before the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry so that he could market a scathing, allegedly tell-all book, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said the fired national security adviser sold his security clearance for "$29.95" — the list price of his new bestseller.
"I do wish that Mr. Bolton would have come into the House under oath and testified," Scott told ABC News' "This Week."
"One of the things about making allegations in a book for $29.95, certainly is going to be a best seller, I'm sure. The problem is that when you're not selling it in a book, you're not putting yourself in a position to be cross-examined.
"So, for $29.95, you can monetize his national security clearance, but under oath he would have had an opportunity to answer questions and not just make assertions."
The dollar amount is a reference to the retail cost of Bolton's book "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir."
Bolton agreed to testify before the Senate in the impeachment trial, after denying the House testimony, but the Senate is generally not the finder of fact in impeachments but merely hearing the facts presented by the House.
The Senate voted to not bring more witnesses forward and Bolton subsequently announced his tell-all book about his time as national security adviser under President Donald Trump – something he was also rebuked for after leaving former President George Bush's administration.
A U.S. judge denied on Saturday a request by the Trump administration for an injunction to block publication of the book
"While Bolton's unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy," U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said in his ruling.
The administration had sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the publication of the book, saying it contained classified information and threatened national security.
The book, scheduled to hit store shelves on Tuesday, is already in the hands of media organizations.
"Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability," the judge wrote.
But he said an injunction would be too late to stem the harm. "With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe —many in newsrooms — the damage is done," Lamberth said.
Lamberth also said Bolton had acted unilaterally by proceeding to publish without waiting for prepublication review by the government.
A civil suit is pending against Bolton that seeks to force him to give the United States the right to all of the profits from the book.
Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House to fly to a campaign rally in Oklahoma, Trump again charged that Bolton had released classified information and lauded the judge's rebuke of Bolton as "a great ruling."
"The judge was very powerful in his statement on classified information and very powerful also on the fact that the country will get the money, any money he makes," Trump said. "Whatever he makes, he's going to be giving back."
In a later interview with Fox News Channel, Trump called what Bolton did "treasonous."
"He should go to jail for that for many, many years," he said.
Publishers Simon & Schuster and Bolton's lawyer Charles Cooper welcomed the ruling. "We respectfully take issue, however, with the Court's preliminary conclusion at this early stage of the case that Ambassador Bolton did not comply fully with his contractual prepublication obligation to the government," Cooper said in a statement.
Bolton's book has drawn wide attention for its withering portrayal of Trump. Bolton describes Trump as imploring Chinese President Xi Jinping for help in winning his 2020 re-election bid, and details alleged improprieties not addressed in Trump's impeachment trial.
Trump ousted Bolton, a foreign policy hawk, last September after 17 months as national security adviser.
Material from Reuters new service was used in this story.
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