The Trump team apparently really does not want the book from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton to make it out to the world. According to a new report from ABC released this Monday, the Trump administration is filing a lawsuit in an attempt to obtain an emergency injunction that would stop the release of Bolton’s memoir covering his time in the White House, which was slated to come out on June 23 as of early Monday. The Trump administration claims that there’s classified information in the book, but Bolton’s side claims that the Trump team is simply trying to censor Bolton, whose book apparently contains stories of wide-ranging misconduct on the president’s part.
BREAKING: Just one week before the release of John Bolton’s much-awaited book, the Trump administration is expected to file a federal lawsuit to block it from being released in its current form, sources tell @ABC News. https://t.co/oW1b8RKsGu
— ABC News (@ABC) June 15, 2020
‘Just a week before the much-awaited book by President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton is set to go on sale, the Trump administration is expected to file a lawsuit in federal court seeking an injunction to block the book from being released in its current form, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.’
Expect a big White House push this week against John Bolton's upcoming memoir of his time working for Trump, which is due out next week.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 15, 2020
Bolton’s book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, has stated that “What Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting reelected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation.” Of course, that description of the president’s behind-the-scenes behavior matches up pretty closely with his public behavior.
Meanwhile, Bolton’s lawyer Chuck Cooper has directly dismissed the Trump administration’s claims about supposed classified information in Bolton’s book. Cooper said, in a recent piece published in the Wall Street Journal:
‘This last-minute allegation came after an intensive four-month review, after weeks of silence from the White House, and… after press reports alerted the White House that Mr. Bolton’s book would be published on June 23. This is a transparent attempt to use national security as a pretext to censor Mr. Bolton, in violation of his constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public import. This attempt will not succeed, and Mr. Bolton’s book will be published June 23.’
Bolton’s book’s publisher stated separately that Bolton had, in fact, already adjusted his manuscript in response to concerns about classified information from federal authorities. It’s not immediately entirely clear what exact grounds the Trump administration may try to claim for their attempt to get a court to stop the publication of Bolton’s book. In the past, the Trump administration has tried to use the concept of the executive privilege of the president to block a whole host of revelations from inside the White House. They’ve long contorted the concept well beyond its original bounds.
In this case, Bolton has information about some scandals of major relevance in the White House. For instance, he was in the administration during the Trump team’s attempt to bribe Ukraine into investigating the Bidens in return for military aid that Congress had, in fact, already approved but the Trump administration held back as leverage. That bribery scheme drove the impeachment proceedings against the president, although Bolton never actually testified during those proceedings.