Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr don’t want John Bolton’s book to see the light of the day. And now they are going to court to try to stop the release. The former national security adviser’s book “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” is set to be in bookstores a week from today. The book has already been delayed since March, reportedly due to the review process. Late Tuesday we learned that the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the book from hitting shelves.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, accuses Bolton of breach of contract and asks the court to prohibit him from disclosing any information in the book or releasing it in any form, and to notify his publisher that he did not complete the prepublication review process.
Monday, Trump set the stage for all this saying:
“If he’s doing a book, I think it’s totally inappropriate that he does a book. I think, a guy, I gave him a break… this was a non-Senate confirmed position. He stayed for a short while. And I felt it was not appropriate that he stay any longer. I wasn’t impressed… If he wrote a book, I can’t imagine that he can because that’s highly classified information. Even conversations with me, they are highly classified…. I will consider every conversation with me as President highly classified. So that would mean that if he wrote a book and that book gets out, that he’s broken the law. And I would think that he would have criminal problems, I would hope so.”
But CNN reports: “Though the president is in charge of deciding what is classified, experts in national security law called Trump’s sweeping claim absurd. Trump is staking a claim for far more secrecy than previous presidents have sought — and ignoring an executive order that makes clear that certain material should not be classified.”
Attorney General Bill Barr agreed with Trump saying, “They have to go through a clearance process before they publish a book and we don’t believe Bolton went through that process.”
But the Associated Press says, “That contradicts statements from Bolton’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, who says his client worked painstakingly for months with classification specialists at the White House National Security Council to make changes to avoid releasing classified material.”
But the bigger issue is early copies of the book are already in the hands of journalists. CNN’s Brian Stelter writes:
There are also practical factors. Copies of “The Room Where It Happened” have already been printed and shipped to distribution sites. Reporters at ABC News have already read the book, since Martha Raddatz sat down with Bolton on Monday for an interview that will air Sunday night in a prime time special. Other reporters are likely to obtain the book in the next few days. So if the Trump admin or the Trump campaign tries to sue to block the release of the book, the suit would be rendered moot…
We don’t Know many specifics of what Bolton reveals in the book, but here’s a little insight thanks to Axios:
“Bolton taunts President Trump, his former boss, on the back cover of his forthcoming book: ‘Game on.‘”
“Bolton will offer multiple revelations about Trump’s conduct in office, with direct quotes by the president and senior officials, according to a source familiar with the book.“