John Bolton's memoir, 'The Room Where It Happened,' gets March 17 release date

Posted January 27, 2020 1:39 a.m. EST

— A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

John Bolton's memoir about his time working for President Trump now has a title and a release date. "The Room Where It Happened" is slated to come out on March 17, according to a page that was posted by the publisher, Simon & Schuster, on Sunday night. The cover image has an outline in the shape of the Oval Office.

Until now, S&S had never even confirmed that it had a Bolton book project in the works. All of the stories about the book deal last November, including my own, were attributed to anonymous sources. But there has been growing speculation, and frustration, about Bolton writing a book but not testifying before the American people.

The NYT blew this story wide open on Sunday evening. Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt indicated that they know exactly what's in the book. And they said some White House officials know what's in it, too, because Bolton sent a draft to the W.H. for a standard review process. They wrote: President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton."


→ A source with direct knowledge of the manuscript told CNN's Jim Sciutto that the NYT's telling of Bolton's account of the Ukraine aid hold discussion with Trump is accurate...

The review process...

It is perfectly normal for a former government official like Bolton to submit a book draft for pre-publication review. But, the NYT noted, the W.H. could use this process "to delay or even kill the book's publication or omit key passages." Under the circumstances, one has to wonder just how long Bolton's publisher is willing to wait to release the book. My impression is that March 17 is a pretty firm release date. And it's safe to assume there will be more leaks between now and then...

>> Stephen Collinson's Monday morning story for "Democrats pounce on Bolton report to demand testimony..."


-- The Times also has a list of five takeaways from the book...

-- CNN's Lauren Fox wrote: "The longer the trial goes on, the more news can shape what direction it takes..."

-- Susan Hennessey: "This is the single most significant revelation since the release of the call memorandum itself..."

-- Read more of Sunday's "Reliable Sources" newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

-- Noah Shachmtan asked in a tweet: "Maybe I'm missing something but... doesn't withholding this Bolton material from Congress essentially prove the obstruction charge?"

"Dramatic 11th hour turn"

Oliver Darcy emails: "The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial," Jonathan Swan wrote in his Axios story.

Indeed, several GOP sources told CNN's Manu Raju that the manuscript info "has added new uncertainty to this week's crucial vote to determine whether the Senate should subpoena witnesses and documents... Before the report, GOP leaders were confident that they would defeat the vote this week. But now, it is less certain, according to three GOP sources." If Bolton and others testify before the Senate, it could throw Trump's defense into significant peril...

The NYT knows more than the W.H.

According to Swan's story, the NYT learned about what Bolton's draft manuscript said BEFORE the W.H. comms shop. As Jack Schafer noted on Twitter, NYT appears to have "better sources than the White House..."

Trump's reaction

He tweeted shortly after midnight ET, "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."

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