SOUTH KOREA SAYS RELEASE “DANGEROUS”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 23, 2020) — In response to an article published by the South Korean Yonhap News Agency on Monday, President Trump referred to “classified information” allegedly released by his former national security advisor, John Bolton, gleaned from the administration’s negotiations with North and South Korea.
“See, Bolton broke the law. Classified Information!” Trump tweeted in the early hours of Tuesday, according to the tweet’s timestamp.
The Yonhap article quoted South Korean Director of National Security Chung Eui-yong’s assertion that as to Bolton’s claims made in the book on dealings among the U.S., South Korea and North Korea, “a considerable portion of it is distorted.” The article is titled, “Cheong Wa Dae says much of Bolton’s memoir on Korea ‘distorted,’ urges U.S. gov’t to address such ‘dangerous’ case.”
Cheong Wa Dae, or “Blue House,” refers to the South Korean president’s residence and, more broadly, his administration.
Bolton’s book, “The Room Where it Happened,” goes on sale today after a federal judge on Saturday refused to grant the Justice Department the injunction it sought to halt it.
In an interview broadcast on Maria Bartiromo’s June 21 “Sunday Morning Futures,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said that Bolton’s book contains “very highly-classified information” and that per federal law, Bolton will be forced to forfeit the $2 million advance he received from the publisher.
A number of observers have opined that the Justice Department’s lawsuit and request for the temporary injunction were made too late in the process, a contention with which the judge overseeing the case appeared to agree in an opinion released Saturday morning.
The Yonhap article continues of Chung:
“He played it down as based on what Bolton had seen from his “own viewpoint,” not “accurate facts,” accusing him of unilaterally disclosing details of diplomatic consultations based on trust among relevant governments.
Chung said it represents a violation of the basic principle of diplomacy, which could harm the sincerity of future negotiations “very seriously.”
On Monday Trump retweeted an article from The Korea Times on the same topic, which quotes extensively from Bolton’s book on the negotiations among the three leaders.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo issued a terse press release titled, “I Was In The Room Too” in which he called Bolton “a traitor who damaged America by violating his sacred trust with its people.”
Bolton, who served as United Nations ambassador during the George W. Bush administration, left the Trump White House last September after approximately 17 months over apparent policy differences with the president, although his public comments about Trump’s foreign-policy initiatives while serving were complimentary. He now says Trump is “unfit for office” and that he hopes Trump will be a “one-term president.”
Also on Monday, Trump tweeted that “I gave John Bolton, who was incapable of being Senate confirmed because he was considered a wacko, and was not liked, a chance. I always like hearing differing points of view. He turned out to be grossly incompetent, and a liar. See judge’s opinion. CLASSIFIED INFORMATION!!!“
The U.S. Justice Department has sued Bolton over the publication of the book, which was made available to reporters and others prior to its official release date of June 23. Today’s release comes after two postponements requested by the administration on the grounds that Bolton did not allow time for the federal government to complete its review of his manuscript.
Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, claims that Bolton followed all necessary protocols before providing his draft to the publisher, Simon & Schuster.
In late January, Cooper said he expected his client to be called to testify in Trump’s impeachment hearings, although it did not come to pass. Trump was acquitted on two Articles of Impeachment on February 5.
In the opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth appeared convinced of the administration’s position that Bolton had, in fact, published classified information and could face both civil and “criminal” consequences. In response, Cooper said the “full story” has yet to be made public.