The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton to stop the publication of his tell-all book, arguing that he has not completed a security review process for classified information.
President Trump said earlier in the day that he thought it was “totally inappropriate” that Bolton was writing a book, after he was given an opportunity to serve in his administration as national security adviser, after not being able to serve in a Senate-confirmed role in the second Bush administration.
“I gave him a break. He couldn’t get Senate-confirmed. He was never Senate-confirmed the first time. I don’t think he’s supposed to even be calling himself an ambassador because he couldn’t get Senate-confirmed,” Trump said.
He added, “He stayed for a short while, and I felt that it was not appropriate that he stay any longer. I wasn’t impressed.”
The president said any conversation Bolton had with him would be “highly classified.”
“So that would mean that if he wrote a book and if the — the book gets out, he’s broken the law. And I would think that he would have criminal problems,” he said.
The book, which is slated to be released on June 23, is titled, The Room Where It Happened. Trump fired Bolton after a number of foreign policy disagreements.
….I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
Attorney General William Barr said that Bolton has not completed a clearance process for former officials to publish books that could contain classified material.
Barr urged Bolton to complete the process and make necessary deletions of classified information.
Bolton’s attorney Charles Cooper said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that Bolton and a National Security Council official reviewed the nearly 500-page manuscript four times, “often line by line,” but that he did not get an official letter approving the material for publication.
Cooper acknowledged that they received a letter on June 8 from John Eisenberg , deputy counsel for national security, that said Bolton’s book contained classified material and that he would violate his non-disclosure agreements by going ahead and publishing it.
Cooper is arguing that the administration is attempting to use national security as an excuse to prevent the publishing of the book.