John Bolton: The Room Where It Happened

Updated: Trump take legal action to block Bolton's tell-all book

When news of Bolton’s book plans first broke, Trump reportedly called him a “traitor”


Donald Trump is set to sue to stop the publication of a tell-all book by John Bolton, his third national security adviser. The Room Where It Happened was initially scheduled for publication earlier this year but was delayed when the White House said it contained classified information.

Last week, publisher Simon & Schuster announced the 23 June release of “the book Donald Trump doesn’t want you to read”. Bolton has already recorded an interview with the ABC anchor Martha Raddatz, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday night.

Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations, was national security adviser between April 2018 and September 2019. Controversially, Bolton did not testify in impeachment proceedings against Trump which focused on Ukraine and Trump’s attempts to bully the government there to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate in February.

“What Bolton saw astonished him,” his publisher said. “A president for whom getting re-elected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation.

“Bolton 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 – and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the administration to raise alarms about them.”

When news of Bolton’s book plans first broke, Trump reportedly called him a “traitor” and said he wanted to sue to stop publication.

It is not clear the current threat will work. In January 2018, Trump threatened to sue to stop the publication of Fire and Fury, a book by Michael Wolff, after the Guardian broke news of its sensational content. Publisher Henry Holt responded by rushing the book to the public.

Bolton’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week of “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 [on] 23 June.”

His predecessor as national security adviser, HR McMaster, has a book due out in September.

Trump books have become big business. On Sunday night, the Daily Beast reported that the president’s niece, Mary Trump, will publish one in August. It is expected to contain revelations about Trump family relationships and its tax affairs.

Updated June 16, 2020 7:00 pm:

The Trump administration asked a federal judge on Tuesday to order former national security adviser John Bolton to stop the publication of his upcoming book on his White House tenure, arguing in a lawsuit that Bolton had breached a non-disclosure agreements and was risking the exposure of classified information.

The suit, filed in Washington, DC, federal court, alleges that Bolton's 500-plus page manuscript was "rife with classified information," and prosecutors say that Bolton backed out of an ongoing White House vetting process for the book that he'd been obligated to do as a result of agreements.

"(Bolton) struck a bargain with the United States as a condition of his employment in one of the most sensitive and important national security positions in the United States Government and now wants to renege on that bargain by unilaterally deciding that the prepublication review process is complete and deciding for himself whether classified information should be made public," prosecutors write.

The lawsuit marks the latest White House effort against Bolton after months of back-and-forth between the National Security Council and Bolton's representatives over whether the book contains classified information. Simon & Schuster previously announced that Bolton's book, "In the Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," would be released on June 23.

Bolton's book has already shipped to warehouses ahead of its scheduled release. He has taped an interview with ABC slated to air Sunday. And a source close to him says he is intent on publishing the book as scheduled Tuesday, meaning he expects to deal with any ramifications from the administration in the aftermath, not before.

In a letter sent to the NSC's legal adviser last week, Chuck Cooper, Bolton's attorney, accused the White House of seeking to block the book for "purely political reasons," adding that "as a practical matter, (it) comes too late."


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