The twin brother of controversial anti-Trump NSC aide Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman may have seen a draft of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s controversial new book, raising the possibility that he or someone who works with him leaked key passages to the New York Times.
A draft of Bolton’s book, “The Room Where it Happened,” was submitted to the NSC for pre-publication review on Dec. 30, 2019.
The Times reported on Sunday that Bolton claims in his book that he heard President Trump explicitly say that he would withhold military aid to Ukraine until the country announced an investigation into corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his scandal-plagued son Hunter.
Bolton reportedly also alleges that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said privately that there was nothing to team Trump’s claims that then-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was corrupt. Additionally, he says he raised concerns about Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine with Attorney General William Barr right after Trump’s July call with Ukraine’s president.
It’s not clear whether John Bolton leaked the material himself “to juice sales for his book,” or whether someone from the NSC leaked the information with or without Bolton’s blessing.
The “quid pro quo” allegation is seen as very damaging to the president, as it directly contradicts his defense team’s arguments that Trump did not tie military aid to investigations of Democrats.
According Breitbart News, a source close to the Trump Administration said that Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a senior ethics lawyer for the National Security Council (NSC), “is in charge of reviewing all publications by current and former NSC officials.”
The review is a standard process that allows the NSC to review book manuscripts, op-eds, or any other material for any classified material to be eliminated before publication.
The NYT story came just a few hours before Bolton’s publisher Simon & Schuster and literary agent Javelin announced the availability of the book in pre-sales.
Bolton’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, issued the following statement Sunday: “It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted.” Cooper had no comment pertaining to the accuracy of the Times‘ reporting.
There was rampant speculation Sunday that the book’s publishers coordinated with the media on the book’s roll-out:
This is obviously book promo coordinated with compliant media, yes. But an additional word of skepticism: these *particular* folks have a pattern of overpromising and underachieving with their "bombshell" anti-Trump book roll outs. https://t.co/xid14bUvmG
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) January 27, 2020
John 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. All because he’s mad Trump fired him for leaking and trying to start new wars. It’s so boring and predictable.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 27, 2020
Given the rolling debacle that is Bolton's book leak operation, I'm not sure that man really wants to be questioned under oath about his or his team's secret interactions with the media over the last year, or their discussions about how to use impeachment to juice book sales.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 27, 2020
Simon & Schuster and Javelin Literary said Monday that there was “no coordination” with the media vis-a-vis the timing of the NYT’s “bombshell” and the announcement of Bolton’s book launch.
NEW: Statement from Ambassador John Bolton, Simon and Schuster and Javelin Literary: pic.twitter.com/WpYV44bEWQ
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) January 27, 2020
Both White House Chief-of-Staff Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence President Trump deny the Bolton’s allegations as described in the NYT article.
Mulvaney lawyer statement > pic.twitter.com/pWHAVkIVxy
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 27, 2020
Pence said via his spokesman in an email blast that although he’s heard the president express concerns about corruption in Ukraine, he never heard him tie military aid to investigations into the Biden family or Burisma.
Marc Short, Chief of Staff to Vice President Pence:
As matter of policy we don’t typically share or discuss conversations between the President and Vice President, but given the journalistic fury over alleged conversations, the President has given me permission to set the record straight. In every conversation with the President and the Vice President in preparation for our trip to Poland, the President consistently expressed his frustration that the United States was bearing the lion’s share of responsibility for aide to Ukraine and that European nations weren’t doing their part. The President also expressed concerns about corruption in Ukraine. At no time did I hear him tie aid to Ukraine to investigations into the Biden family or Burisma. As White House Counsel presented today, based upon testimony provided by Democrat witnesses in the House hearings, these were the only issues that the Vice President discussed with Ukrainian officials — because that’s what the President asked him to raise.
Yesterday on Twitter, the president denied telling Bolton that he had tied aid to Ukraine to the investigations.
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
…(Democrats said I never met) and released the military aid to Ukraine without any conditions or investigations – and far ahead of schedule. I also allowed Ukraine to purchase Javelin anti-tank missiles. My Administration has done far more than the previous Administration.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
Additionally, a Justice Department statement on September 25 disputes the Bolton’s claim that he raised concerns about Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine with the attorney general. Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement at the time: “The Attorney General was first notified of the President’s conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky several weeks after the call took place, when the Department of Justice learned of a potential referral.”
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who listened in on President Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president, is believed to have leaked the information to the so-called “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella.
NSC co-workers said that Vindman, like Ciaramella, openly expressed his disdain for Trump whose foreign policy was often at odds with the recommendations of “the interagency” — a network of agency working groups comprised of intelligence bureaucrats, experts and diplomats who regularly meet to craft and coordinate policy positions inside the federal government.
He and his twin Yevegeny Vindman reportedly have offices across from each other.
Alexander Vindman told the House Intelligence Committee in his closed-door deposition that he told his brother, Yevgeny, about President Trump’s July 25th call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In November, Yevgeny Vindman attended his brother’s public testimony at the House impeachment inquiry.
The Wall Street Journal described Vindman as “an NSC lawyer handling ethics issues.” Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman described his brother as the “lead ethics official” at the NSC. A U.S. Office of Government Ethics web page, updated on Friday, identifies Yevegeny Vindman as the “Alternate Designated Agency Ethics Official” for the NSC.
LTC Alexander Vindman has been touted by the media as a war hero and American patriot with only the purest of motivations, however an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who served with him in 2013 threw cold water on those assertions, last fall.
According to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jim Hickman (ret.), Vindman repeatedly mocked America and Americans in front of Russian military officers in Grafenwoher, Germany at that time.
Hickman is a wounded warrior who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and received multiple combat medals—including the Purple Heart. He took medical leave from the service in 2017 due to complications from his injuries, and now resides near Tampa, Florida.
Hickman said that he “verbally reprimanded” then-Major Vindman after he heard some of his derisive remarks for himself. “Do not let the uniform fool you,” Hickman wrote on Twitter. “He is a political activist in uniform.”
Hickman’s former boss, Thomas Lasch, a highly respected simulation strategist at the Joint Multinational Simulation Center in Grafenwoehr, Germany, corroborated his story on Twitter and to American Greatness.
A second individual who witnessed Vindman’s troubling behavior in Grafenwoher came forward with a statement backing Hickman’s story up.
Yes I do remember this, LTC Vindman was uncomfortably supportive of Obama. He seemed almost self-hating of white Americans, and made comments to the Russians during Atlas Vision 13 about how, in my own words, American’s are too big for our own britches and not exceptional. He also spoke in Russian and we really didn’t know what he was saying. I remember giving him shit about it, then telling LTC Hickman about it, and he said something to him [LTC Vindman]. He seemed like a poor performer, not too motivated, and a bit of a sluggish officer.”
The individual—a General Services Employee with the Department of the Army—wished to stay anonymous due to fear of retribution at his place of work and fear for his family.
Meanwhile, national security expert Fred Fleitz, who served as deputy assistant to President Trump and Chief of Staff to Bolton, wrote an oped at Fox News Monday lamenting that his former boss would publish a book undermining the president in the midst of an impeachment and during an election year.
I take Bolton and his staff at their word that they did not leak the manuscript to the New York Times. But I believe they are still responsible for this leak since Bolton’s explosive book was sent to the leak-prone National Security Council for a security review in December 2019 so the book could be published in the spring of 2020. It also is inexplicable how such a sensitive manuscript could be sent to the NSC in the middle of the impeachment process. Under such circumstances, a leak of the manuscript was all but certain.
If a manuscript of this sensitivity was to be published at all, this should happen after the election, not in the spring of 2020. I don’t understand the need for a former National Security Adviser to publish a tell-all book critical of a president he served, especially during a presidential reelection campaign that will determine the fate of the country. There will be a time for Bolton to speak out without appearing to try to tip a presidential election.
It’s not clear how details from Bolton’s manuscript was leaked to the Times or whether the reporters have seen the material for themselves. The report cites its sources as “multiple people” who “described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.”
In response to this report, LTC Hickman told American Greatness: “LTC Vindman should already have his clearance pulled, and be waiting for his court marshal. Neither Vindman should still be in the WH, period! What the hell is wrong with our Military Leaders right now? Did Obama truly rid us of honorable, nonpartisan Generals. Protect the CINC!”
“The pulling of LTC Vindman’s security clearance is imperative,” he added. “He leaked a classified phone call, worked against the foreign policy objectives of the CINC, lied twice to congress, and broke the chain of command to actively scheme against this CINC. What iin the Hell is he still doing in the White House?”