The US Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into whether President Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser John Bolton mishandled classified information when he published a book about his time in the White House, multiple US media outlets have reported.
A source told NPR the subpoenas have been issued to Simon & Schuster, Bolton's publisher, and Javelin, his literary agency.
"Ambassador Bolton emphatically rejects any claim that he acted improperly, let alone criminally, in connection with the publication of his book, and he will cooperate fully, as he has throughout, with any official inquiry into his conduct", Cooper added.
The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Bolton in June asking a judge to block his book's publication, alleging he had not cleared it through the proper channels.
The New York Times, also citing anonymous sources, reported that lawyers for the National Security Council and the Justice Department debated whether opening the investigation would be viewed as a political act with just seven weeks remaining before Trump faces former Vice President Joe Biden on November 3 national polls.
A spokesman for Javelin could not immediately be reached for comment. Bolton legal team has said he spent months addressing White House concerns about classified material and said he was assured in April by the official with whom he had been working that the manuscript was free of such information. Federal officials in sensitive positions involving classified information are typically require to seek approval from their former employers before publishing anything related to their work.
Trump tweeted in June around the release of Bolton's book that Bolton was a 'lowlife who should be in jail, money seized, for disseminating, for profit, highly Classified information'.
Bolton's book, 'The Room Where it Happened, ' offered his take on the president's interactions with Ukraine, which led to Trump's impeachment in Congress. Bolton wrote that Democrats in Congress should have probed Trump's interference in DOJ probes to 'give personal favors to dictators he liked'.
Trump has repeatedly called for Bolton's prosecution amid coverage of the damning revelations in Bolton's book and cheered on the DOJ's ultimately unsuccessful attempt to force his publisher to stop its release.