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

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report Trump announces opening of relations between Sudan and Israel Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday slammed a proposal floated by GOP senators to review former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJohn Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Bolton: North Korea 'more dangerous now' Demand for Trump-related titles sparks expected record year for political books MORE’s unpublished book manuscript in a classified setting, calling the idea “absurd.”

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordMcConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate Senators push for Turkey sanctions after reports Ankara used Russian system to detect US-made jets McConnell: Plan is to confirm Trump's Supreme Court pick before election MORE (R-Okla.) on Monday night said the White House should give senators access to Bolton’s draft book, which claims President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE linked security assistance for Ukraine with an investigation of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Brad Pitt narrates Biden ad airing during World Series 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.

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“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.

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“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.