Schumer slams 'absurd' GOP proposal to read Bolton manuscript in classified setting

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Schumer cites security, DHS ban in questioning TSA use of TikTok Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday slammed a proposal floated by GOP senators to review former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump directly sought to block publication of Bolton's book: WaPo 'Parasite' studio fires back after Trump criticism: 'He can't read' Trump swipes at 'little wise guy' Brad Pitt, Korean film 'Parasite' during rally MORE’s unpublished book manuscript in a classified setting, calling the idea “absurd.”

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle The Hill's Morning Report - Trump defense rests, GOP struggles to bar witnesses GOP confident of win on witnesses MORE (R-Okla.) on Monday night said the White House should give senators access to Bolton’s draft book, which claims President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE linked security assistance for Ukraine with an investigation of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE. Lankford said the manuscript could be viewed in the Senate’s sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).

The highly secure room located in the basement level of the Capitol Visitor Center is usually used for classified briefings or to review sensitive intelligence and national security documents.


“What an absurd proposal. It’s a book! There’s no need for it be read in the SCIF unless you want to hide something,” Schumer said at a press conference.

“To what extent are some of our Republican colleagues going to twist themselves [into an] entire pretzel to avoid the truth?” he added. “Our view is simple, we want for witnesses, four [sets of] documents.”

Lankford said in a Facebook video Monday evening that it’s important senators have access to the information in Bolton’s book, even if he’s not called as a witness.

“I think getting that information firsthand would be really important for us,” he said.

Lankford is suggesting senators have a chance to review the work in the SCIF because officials on the National Security Council are currently examining the manuscript to ensure it doesn’t include any classified information.


“We should get access, I believe, even though it is going through the classification [process]. Every member of Congress has classified clearance. We should be able to get access to that document to be able to read that manuscript for ourselves rather than getting it thirdhand from The New York Times,” he said.

Lankford said in an interview Tuesday morning that he is in talks with the White House to make the manuscript available to the Senate.

When asked about Schumer’s criticism, Lankford said the manuscript must be made available in the SCIF because it hasn’t finished going through the declassification process.