The Trump administration has asked a federal judge to block the publication of John Bolton’s upcoming book.
What We Know:
- Former national security advisor John Bolton’s tell-all memoir, The Room Where It Happened, was set to be published next week. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit arguing that Bolton breached his non-disclosure agreements, risking national security.
- Prosecutors filed the 27-page civil lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. The lawsuit alleges that Bolton’s manuscript contains classified national security information and that Bolton did not participate in the White House vetting process for the book. Prosecutors say Bolton reneged on his agreements with the administration by “deciding for himself whether classified information should be made public”.
- The lawsuit accuses Bolton of three counts of breach of contract and fiduciary duty for allegedly violating prepublication review requirements, disseminating classified information, and unjustly enriching himself. The Justice Department estimates the book deal to be worth about $2 million. The administration asked the court to order Simon & Schuster, the book’s publisher, to further delay the publication date.
- This lawsuit is an escalation of the months-long battle between Bolton and the White House over the book. It is one of the more extreme cases in which the administration attempts to prevent former employees from recounting their experiences.
- Simon & Schuster blasted the lawsuit, releasing a statement saying that it is “nothing more than the latest in a long running series of efforts by the Administration to quash publication of a buck it deems unflattering to the President…Simon & Schuster fully supports [Bolton’s] First Amendment right to tell the story of his time in the White House to the American public.” They have already printed the book and shipped copies to warehouses. Bolton has an interview with ABC ready to air on Sunday. A source close to him says he intends to publish the book as scheduled on Tuesday and expects to deal with the aftermath.
If the lawsuit fails, the book sales could benefit greatly from this additional publicity. The book’s imprint says “a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government”.