Former CIA analyst and ex-National Security Council staffer Fred Fleitz spoke out about his longtime friend, former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton, telling "The Ingraham Angle" in an exclusive interview Monday that the ex-official should withdraw his forthcoming book until after the election.
Host Laura Ingraham noted Fleitz served under Bolton twice in government office and has known him for 30 years. She added that Bolton has appeared on her show multiple times.
"John is an old friend and I didn't take any pleasure in writing this piece today," Fleitz said of a column he published on FoxNews.com that called for Bolton to withdraw his manuscript.
He said he takes Bolton and his staff at their word that they did not leak the book's manuscript
The New York Times exclusively reported the manuscript included a claim that Trump explicitly linked a hold on Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump told Bolton in August, according to a transcript of Bolton's forthcoming book reviewed by the Times, "that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens."
Fleitz said presidents of both parties should be able to confide in their national security advisors and that the best confidants are the ones who give the officeholder peace of mind that their ideas and musings will not appear in the press or in books.
He reiterated that he believes Bolton didn't leak anything to the Times, but warned that if some rumored sourcing is true, the people involved should be punished.
"[S]ending something so sensitive to the White House during impeachment hearing and all the bureaucrats [could] review -- I'm afraid it was an invitation for a leak. There is a report now that there are many paper copies made at the National Security Council. If that is true, heads should roll at the NSC," he said, adding that the Bolton team should have been more judicious than to send his book draft to the NSC in the first place, if they had.
Later in the interview, Ingraham joked that a previous political critic of Bolton's, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., appeared to want the ex-Bush administration ambassador to be put on the "Mount Rushmore of heroes in the modern political age," in the host's words.
"There seems to be a giant cover-up among so many of the leading people in the White House," Schumer said. "If it was ever even a shred of logic left to not hear witnesses and review the documents, Mr. Bolton's book just erased it."
In his FoxNews.com column, Fleitz wrote that executive privilege exists for people exactly like Bolton -- in sensitive positions and in close collaboration with presidents on national security matters where privacy is necessary.
He also pointed to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who delayed the publication of his book that Fleitz said "detailed the incompetence of Joe Biden and the Obama [NSC] staff" for several years so as not to affect the 2012 presidential election.
"There will be a time for Bolton to speak out without appearing to try to tip a presidential election," Fleitz wrote.
Fox News' Gregg Re and Gillian Turner contributed to this report.