The U.S. Justice Department filed a federal lawsuit against John Bolton on Tuesday to block the publication and sale of his new White House tell-all book.
The American government is arguing that the former national security adviser’s publication contains classified information “that cannot be released to the public”, the New York Post is reporting.
“This is a civil action by the United States to prevent Defendant John R. Bolton, a former National Security Advisor, from compromising national security by publishing a book containing classified information — in clear breach of agreements he signed as a condition of his employment and as a condition of gaining access to highly classified information and in clear breach of the trust placed within him by the United States Government,” read part of the 27-page court filing with the US District Court in DC.
Mr Bolton left the White House last September after he had a conflict with Mr Trump over some of his policies regarding Ukraine, North Korea and Iran, among others.
Mr Trump had announced then that he fired his former subordinate because he disagreed “strongly” with him.
“I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning,” Mr Trump tweeted, then adding he would appoint a replacement the next week.
But Mr Bolton had insisted he had quit and vowed to have his say “in due course”.
He had disagreed with Mr Trump over some foreign policy challenges, concerning Afghanistan and Iran.
‘Tell all book’
The hard-line ex-official had hoped to publish the book, “The Room Where It Happened,” in early 2020 but has faced an uphill task, the latest, an onslaught by the Trump government.
The manuscript has, however, undergone numerous and ongoing reviews for classified information by the National Security Council, and the date was pushed back to June 23.
“This is the book Donald Trump doesn’t want you to read. There hasn’t been a detailed, inside account on how this president makes decisions on a day-to-day basis, until now,” Simon & Schuster, the publisher, asserted last week. “He argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy.”
Deputy White House counsel John Eisenberg reportedly told Bolton’s lawyers in a letter obtained by the Associated Press not to publish.
He warned: “As we advised your client when he signed the nondisclosure agreements, and as he should be well as aware as Assistant to the President for the National Security Affairs in this administration, the unauthorised disclosure of classified information could be exploited by a foreign power, thereby causing significant harm to the national security of the United States.”
The New York Post reports that Mr Trump had said Monday that every conversation he has as president is classified — a declaration critics questioned — and threatened criminal charges against Bolton.
A spokesman for Simon & Schuster said the lawsuit was “nothing more than the latest in a long running series of efforts by the administration to quash publication of a book it deems unflattering to the President.”