The Trump administration is suing former national security adviser John Bolton to block publication of his book, “The Room Where It Happened,” which is filled with far out allegations against the president that made up by the disgruntled former employee.
The injunction comes after the New York Times and the Washington Post received copies of the manuscript one week ahead of the scheduled publishing date and have released outlandish allegations against President Trump obtained from the book.
Such ridiculous allegations released Wednesday by the Washington Post suggest things like President Trump requesting Chinese President Xi Jinping use China’s economic power to help him win the upcoming 2020 election and that the president thought it would be “cool” to invade Venezuela.
If any of Bolton’s far out claims were believed to be true, the left would be praising him as a messiah of sorts. Instead, he faces a wave of backlash from liberals who previously hoped he would testify against President Trump during the impeachment trials – until Bolton refused back these claims under oath, opting instead to go the book publishing route like a cheap tabloid looking to make a quick buck off of baseless accusations.
But the administration’s lawsuit will undoubtedly help him sell more copies. The book is already No. 1 on Amazon.
The fact that the suit names Bolton, but not his publisher Simon & Schuster, makes clear that Trump knows he can’t block a book that has already been shipped to the stores. Bolton has already taped his first interview, with ABC’s Martha Raddatz, to be aired Sunday.
DOJ lawyers are well aware that the Supreme Court famously ruled against prior restraint–blocking publication–in the 1971 Pentagon Papers case involving the New York Times and Washington Post.
At issue is a White House agreement that Bolton signed to submit any writings for a national security review. Bolton did that, and his lawyers say he removed some material deemed to be classified but the administration has been letting the process drag on for months. William Barr says Bolton doesn’t get to unilaterally decide when the review is over.
And the president signaled his intent to play hardball by telling reporters he hopes Bolton will be subjected to “criminal” penalties if the book is published without approval. That, to say the least, seems unlikely.
The DOJ is concerned that “disclosure of the manuscript will damage” U.S. national security.
“Regardless of rank or position, every individual entrusted with access to our nation’s secrets has a legal duty and responsibility to protect classified information,” Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliff said in a statement Wednesday.
He wrote, “As the Director of National Intelligence, I am authorized and obligated by law to protect the critical work of the Intelligence Community from any and all unauthorized disclosures, which is what I have done today.”
According to the court filing Wednesday, security officials at the DNI and other intelligence agencies believe the manuscript contains classified information.
The DOJ has requested a hearing be scheduled for Friday, June 19. The court filings claim that the defendant released the manuscript to the press prior to receiving written authorization certifying that there was no classified information present.