Trump calls it ‘inappropriate’ for Bolton to write book
President Trump on Monday said it was “totally inappropriate” for former national security adviser John Bolton to write a memoir about his work in the White House and claimed the book contains “highly classified” information.
“If he wrote a book, I can’t imagine that he can because that’s highly classified information,” Trump, who said he hadn’t read the book, told reporters during a meeting in the Cabinet Room.
“I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified. So that would mean if he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he’s broken the law and I would think he would have criminal problems,” Trump continued.
Trump also suggested the details contained in the book may not be truthful, telling reporters Bolton has “been known not to tell the truth, a lot.”
Trump also appeared to confirm reports that his administration planned to file a lawsuit in order to prevent the publication of Bolton’s memoir later this month.
Attorney General William Barr told reporters that the administration didn’t believe Bolton had completed the process by which books are cleared by the executive branch for publication and was therefore in violation of an agreement he signed when joining the administration. Trump interjected, claiming Bolton would be criminally liable were he to release the book in its current form.
Trump made the remarks to reporters in the Cabinet Room during a meeting on the administration’s efforts to protect senior citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bolton plans to release his memoir, “The Room Where it Happened,” on June 23 after its publication was delayed for months as a result of the prepublication review process spearheaded by the White House National Security Council.
The memoir is expected to present a scathing account of the Trump White House from Bolton’s perspective as national security adviser, a position he held from March 2018 to September 2019, when he was ousted over disagreements with the president on a range of issues.
However, a White House lawyer wrote to Bolton’s attorney earlier this month saying that the draft manuscript still contains classified material that could compromise national security. The White House said it would provide Bolton with a redacted copy of the draft manuscript by June 19, four days before the publication date.
Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, subsequently wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the White House was trying to use national security as a “pretext” to censor Bolton “in violation of his constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public import.”
Simon & Schuster, Bolton’s publisher, also said Bolton worked with the National Security Council to incorporate changes to the memoir that addressed officials’ concerns in the months leading up to publication and that the final product reflects those changes.
The book is expected to touch, in part, on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine that were the center of his impeachment by the House of Representatives in December.
Bolton refused to testify before the House as part of the impeachment inquiry but later offered to testify before the Senate if a subpoena was issued. The GOP-controlled Senate ultimately did not vote to call witnesses and voted to acquit Trump on both impeachment charges in largely party-line votes.
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