Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s strong personal animus toward President Donald Trump has been rumored about for some time — and Bolton’s forthcoming book apparently does little to dispel suspicions of his disapproval.
With that as a backdrop, the Trump administration is seeking a restraining order to prevent the book’s release, and federal prosecutors are now considering criminal charges against Bolton for including classified information in his memoir, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
DOJ takes action
Bolton’s book was scheduled to hit stores on June 23, but the Trump administration is hoping a court will put a temporary hold on its release, and the Department of Justice has requested a hearing on the matter be held Friday, according to the LA Times.
This move comes in addition to a civil lawsuit against Bolton filed by the administration earlier this week that is aimed at halting publication of the book, as NBC News reported.
The DOJ claims in its civil complaint that Bolton breached non-disclosure agreements, has not completed the requisite internal review process, and that, according to National Security Council officials, the book is known to contain “significant amounts of classified information,” with some reaching the “top-secret level,” as NBC News reported separately.
On top of those legal maneuvers, the LA Times reported that criminal charges against Bolton are being explored, with President Trump himself calling the book “highly inappropriate” and a potential “criminal problem” if released, as USA Today noted.
Bolton’s book is titled The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, and excerpts of it focusing on the president’s relationship with China have already been published in the Wall Street Journal.
Specifically, Bolton accuses his former boss of attempting to obtain assistance from the Chinese government with his 2020 re-election campaign, saying, “Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win.”
The former National Security adviser continued: “He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.”
Bolton then teased readers. “I would print Trump’s exact words, but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise,” he remarked.
According to a statement from Bolton’s publisher that was quoted by the LA Times, the author “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.”
Only time will tell whether the Trump administration is able to prevent the rest of Bolton’s book from seeing the light of day, whether his headline-grabbing allegations have any effect on the president’s re-election hopes, and whether Bolton himself will face any criminal charges.