The Trump administration sued former National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday to stop the publication of a book that the White House says contains classified information.
The civil lawsuit in Washington’s federal court followed warnings from President Donald Trump that Bolton could face a “criminal problem” if he did not halt plans to publish the book, which is scheduled for release next week. The administration contends that the former adviser did not complete a pre-publication review to ensure that the manuscript did not contain classified material.
The Justice Department is requesting that a federal court order Bolton to “instruct or request” that his publisher further delay publication of the book to allow for the completion of the national security review process and to “retrieve and dispose” of existing copies in a manner acceptable to the government.
The Justice Department also is asking a federal court to grant it the rights to all proceeds Bolton earns from the publication of the book.
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
In its lawsuit, the Justice Department argued that Bolton’s job meant he “regularly came into possession of some of the most sensitive classified information that exists in the US government”. Officials said Bolton’s manuscript was more than 500 pages and was “rife with classified information, which he proposed to release to the world”.
The book contained “significant quantities of classified information that it asked Defendant to remove,” the filing said.
Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, was supposed to be released in March. Its release date was twice delayed, and it is now set to be released next week by publisher Simon & Schuster.
“Bolton covers an array of topics – chaos in the White House, sure, but also assessments of major players, the president’s inconsistent, scattershot decision-making process, and his dealings with allies and enemies alike, from China, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Iran, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany,” according to the publisher.
“I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,” Bolton wrote in the book, according to a news release from the publisher.
Bolton’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, has said Bolton worked for months with classification specialists to avoid releasing classified material. He has accused the White House of using national security information as a pretext to censor Bolton.