National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
As we all know, on Sunday night, The New York Times reported on leaks about former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s forthcoming book. Bolton allegedly writes in his new book that President Trump told him he planned to continue freezing $400 million in aid to Ukraine until they agreed to help investigate the Bidens and other Democrats.
Bolton’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, issued a statement about the leak which said, “It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted.”
This evaluation is routine for government officials who write books, Congressional testimony or articles for public consumption after having had access to classified material. In Bolton’s case, the manuscript for his new book must be reviewed and cleared by officials at the National Security Council. Bolton’s manuscript was “submitted to the NSC for prepublication review on Dec. 30.”
Breitbart reported on Monday that impeachment inquiry witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has an identical twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, who works as an ethics attorney at the NSC.
According to Breitbart, the brothers are close. In fact, their offices at the NSC are located directly across from each other. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Alexander Vindman said he told Yevgeny, about the July 25 Trump/Zelensky call. And Yevgeny attended Alexander’s public testimony before the impeachment panel.
A source told Breitbart that Yevgeny Vindman “clears publications for NSC officials.” They report, “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.”
This is not to say that Yevgeny Vindman reviewed Bolton’s book, only that it’s a possibility.
And I would add that considering Bolton is a former National Security Advisor, news of his manuscript likely caused quite a stir among the NSC employees. It could have been anyone who leaked the information. I’m sure many eyes have seen that manuscript and that it’s been a hot topic of conversation among them. They’ve had it in their possession for four weeks so far.
By submitting his manuscript to the NSC on the eve of the Senate impeachment trial, Bolton knew he could inflict maximum damage on the President and sell a lot of books. The Democrats probably waited for a moment when the Republicans were riding high, as they were after the defense team’s winning performance on Saturday, to leak this information. This is the same thing they did during the Kavanaugh confirmation process.