Former National Security Advisor John Bolton should be ordered to cancel the release of his upcoming memoir because he backed out of an agreement to have it reviewed for classified material, a government lawyer argued at the start of a hearing Friday.
Washington, DC Assistant US Attorney David Morrell said that Bolton “egregiously breached his obligation” to abide by agreements he signed before joining President Trump’s administration and when he left less than a year ago.
Morrell called it “totally and completely unacceptable” for Bolton “to decide he’s done with the process” and said he could have challenged it by filing suit against the government.
Morrell asked Judge Royce Lamberth to order that Bolton “make every effort to claw the book back to avoid the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”
The Justice Department filed suit Tuesday to block the publication of Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” on grounds that it contains classified information.
That was followed up Wednesday night with a request for an emergency court order that claimed some information in the book is so sensitive that disclosure could cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security.
Trump has called Bolton a “liar” who “broke the law” with his tell-all, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo branded Bolton a “traitor” and top trade advisor Peter Navarro called his book “deep state revenge porn.”
Simon & Schuster — which has printed and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide — plans to release the tell-all next Tuesday and pre-sale orders have already pushed it to No. 17 on Amazon’s best-seller list.
Multiple media outlets obtained advanced copies and on Wednesday published reports that said it claims Trump last year begged Chinese President Xi Jinping to aid his re-election bid by increasing Chinese purchases of American soybeans and wheat.
The book also claims that Trump privately admitted the alleged “quid pro quo” involving demands that Ukraine launch investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton in exchange for $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.
That matter lay at the heart of Trump’s impeachment by House Democrats last year, which led to him being acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate in February.
ABC has also released excerpts of an interview with Bolton in which he expresses the belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin “thinks he can play [Trump] like a fiddle.”
That interview is set to air Sunday night.
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