US drops lawsuit, closes probe over Bolton book

US drops lawsuit, closes probe over Bolton book
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The Justice Department (DOJ) is dropping its lawsuit and criminal investigation related to former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonBolton: Trump lacked enough 'advance thinking' for a coup Trump said he hoped COVID-19 'takes out' Bolton: book US drops lawsuit, closes probe over Bolton book MORE’s memoir, which attracted the ire of former President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE due to its critical account of his administration. 

Two people familiar with the matter told The New York Times that the DOJ had ended the criminal investigation launched in September, and a court filing revealed the agency’s intention to drop the lawsuit that the Biden administration inherited. 

Sarah Tinsley, the director of the John Bolton PAC, confirmed to The Hill that the DOJ had informed the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that it was dropping the case against Bolton regarding his book, “The Room Where It Happened,” which the Trump DOJ had claimed illegally disclosed classified information. 

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The Trump administration had filed the lawsuit days before the book was released seeking to temporarily block it from publication, and months later opened a grand jury investigation surrounding the tell-all book. 

Tinsley told The Hill that the DOJ was now “closing all aspects of the case.” 

“These actions represent a complete vindication for Ambassador Bolton, and a repudiation of former President Trump’s attempt, under the pretext of protecting classified information, first to suppress the book’s publication and when that failed in court, to penalize the Ambassador,” she said. 

The spokesperson cited previous media reports noting that Trump himself had told people, “We’re going to try and block the publication of the book. After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House.”

Charles Cooper, Bolton’s lead attorney, said in a statement shared with The Hill, “We are very pleased that the Department of Justice has dismissed with prejudice its civil lawsuit against Ambassador Bolton and has terminated grand jury proceedings.”

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“We argued from the outset that neither action was justifiable, because they were initiated only as a result of President Trump’s politically motivated order to prevent publication of the Ambassador’s book before the 2020 election,” he added.

“By ending these proceedings without in any way penalizing Ambassador Bolton or limiting his proceeds from the book, the Department of Justice has tacitly acknowledged that President Trump and his White House officials acted illegitimately,” Cooper argued. 

The Hill has reached out to the DOJ for additional information. 

Bolton, who prior to the Trump administration served under George W. Bush’s administration as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, offered a scathing picture of Trump in his memoir, accusing him of attempting to use U.S. foreign policy to help him in his reelection campaign, including by threatening to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless the government launched a probe into then-presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE

While a federal judge allowed Bolton to publish the book last summer, he said that Bolton "likely published classified materials" and "exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability." 

The judge subsequently rejected Bolton’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit in October.