Justice Department Considers Criminal Prosecution Of John Bolton Over His Book
President Donald Trump has asked the Justice Department to file a temporary restraining order to stop former national security adviser John Bolton from releasing his book on the his time in the White House and consider a criminal prosecution.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, arguing Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, which is due to be published on June 23, is “compromising the national security” and is breaching a non-disclosure agreement that Bolton signed when he was employed. The order also said Bolton had to consult the National Security Council before releasing the book.
Attorney General William Barr said earlier, without mentioning the plans to file a lawsuit, that the administration was determined that Bolton must get through the clearance process first.
“People who come to work in the government and have access to sensitive information generally sign an agreement that says when they leave government, if they write something that draws on or might reflect some of the information they’ve head access to, they have to go through a clearance process before they can publish the book,” Barr said on Monday. “We don’t think Bolton has gone through that process, hasn’t completed that process.”
However, Bolton’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, released a statement: “Ambassador Bolton has worked in full cooperation with the NSC in its pre-publication review to address its concerns and Simon & Schuster fully supports his First Amendment right to tell the story of his time in the White House to the American public.”
The book is based on Bolton’s recollections from private conversations, presenting alarming details on Trump’s actions in office. Some of the allegations include Trump seeking help from Chinese President Xi Jinping to win the 2020 elections, his willingness to assist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a case involving a Turkish company and Trump saying Venezuela was “really part of the United States.”
Trump called the book a “compilation of lies and made up stories” and proceeded to criticize it over his Twitter:
Bolton’s book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad. Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction. Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2020
Book excerpts on Trump-Xi allegations were already published in major newspapers on Wednesday. Constitutional experts think the lawsuit is unlikely to succeed.