Dems Want to Know If Bolton Told White House About Contact With Alleged Spy

National security adviser appeared with Butina at gun rights roundtable when he worked for NRA

National security adviser John Bolton rolled out a new counterterrorism plan Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
National security adviser John Bolton rolled out a new counterterrorism plan Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:58pm

Top Democrats on the House Oversight Committee want to know if National Security Adviser John Bolton told the White House about his reported contact with alleged Russian spy Maria Butina before he was appointed by President Trump. 

Bolton appeared with Butina in a video roundtable discussion about gun rights, reportedly sponsored by the Russian organization Right to Bear Arms, in his previous position as a top National Rifle Association official, Democrats Elijah Cummings and Stephen Lynch wrote in a letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly delivered Monday. 

Butina was charged in July by federal prosecutors with infiltrating the National Rifle Association and spying on the United States. 

“Given the alarming and unprecedented nature of these revelations — and the high-level position of trust Mr. Bolton now holds — we request that you produce documents relating to whether Mr. Bolton reported his previous work with this alleged Russian spy on his security clearance forms or other White House vetting materials prior to President Trump appointing him to his current position,” they wrote.  

Cummings is the ranking Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Lynch is the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee on national security.

In the video, Bolton expressed support for amending the Russian constitution to include broader gun rights and offered the Russian people “encouragement as you consider embracing that freedom,” the Democrats wrote in the letter

Bolton reportedly participated at the request of then-NRA President David Keene.  Keane had appointed Bolton to lead the NRA’s Subcommittee on International Affairs in 2011.

In order to get access to classified information, government officials must provide a wide range of information about their contacts with foreign citizens, foreign business and professional activities, foreign government contacts, and any advice they provided or consultancy arrangements they had with foreign entities, according to a news release from Cummings’ office.

Applicants also typically provide additional information directly to the Executive Office of the President as part of their applications for employment at the White House.

The letter requested several categories of documents and information provided by Bolton on his security clearance forms and other White House vetting materials.

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