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

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday slammed a proposal floated by GOP senators to review former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump envoy says US ready to talk to North Korea but rebukes Pyongyang counterpart Why Trump can't make up his mind on China The benefits of American disinterest in world affairs MORE’s unpublished book manuscript in a classified setting, calling the idea “absurd.”

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Tulsa to resume search for race massacre mass graves next week GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (R-Okla.) on Monday night said the White House should give senators access to Bolton’s draft book, which claims President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE linked security assistance for Ukraine with an investigation of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump commutes Roger Stone's sentence Hillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok House Democrat warns about 'inaccurate' polls: Trump voters 'fundamentally undercounted' 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.