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The complaint is the latest salvo in a dispute over the relationship between the Trumpet and the Bolton Hawkish, who was brutally forced from the White House in January after several disagreements over national security issues. He is moving his rift into the court, where a judge will be asked to decide whether Bolton bypassed the procedures necessary to get his book to market something his lawyer and the publisher firmly refused.
Its publisher, Simon & Schuster, called the lawsuit “nothing more than the latest in a long series of efforts by the administration to cancel the publication of a book he considers unflattering to the president.” He said in a statement Tuesday evening that Bolton had worked with White House officials to address their concerns, and that he “fully supports his First Right Amendment” to tell his story.
Likewise, Bolton’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, said Bolton worked for months with classification specialists to avoid releasing classified documents. He accused the White House of using national security information as an excuse to censor Bolton.
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In its lawsuit, the Administration’s Department of Justice argues that the former adviser has not completed a pre-publication review to ensure that the manuscript does not contain classified documents. He requests that a Bolton Federal Court order to “instruct or demand”, that his publisher further delay the publication of the work to allow the completion of the national security review process and “Recover and dispose of” existing copies in a manner acceptable to the government.
The Department of Justice is also asking a federal court to grant him the rights to any Bolton earnings earned as of the publication of the book.
In his lawsuit, the Department of Justice contends that Bolton’s work meant that he “regularly came into possession of some of the most sensitive classified information that exists in the United States government.” Officials said Bolton’s manuscript was over 500 pages long and was “plagued by classified information, which he offered to release to the world.”
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The book contained “significant amounts of classified information which it asked the Defendant to delete,” the filing said.
“The United States is not seeking to censor any legitimate aspect of the Defendant’s manuscript; it is only seeking an order requiring the Respondent to complete the pre-publication of the review process and to take all necessary steps to ensure that only a manuscript which has been officially authorized by this process – and is therefore free classified information – is to disseminate publicly, ”said the lawsuit.
Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memories,” was supposed to be published in March. Its release date has been delayed twice and is now ready to be released next week by Simon & Schuster.
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“Bolton covers a range of topics, from chaos to the White House, of course, but also assessments of great players, the president of the inconsistent, dispersed decision-making process, and his relationships with allies and enemies, from China, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Iran, the United Kingdom, France and Germany ”, according to the editor.
“I am struggling to identify a significant Trump decision during my tenure that was not driven by re-election calculations,” Bolton wrote in the book, according to a press release from the publisher.
The book has been highly anticipated for months, especially after the news broke during Trump’s impeachment trial that the manuscript offered a vivid account of the President’s efforts to refuse military aid to Ukraine in return for the country to assist in investigations into political asset rival Joe Biden. These allegations formed the bulk of the dismissal of the case, which ended with the Speaker of the Senate acquitted in February.
Cooper did not immediately respond to an email asking for comment on the lawsuit. He already said it, that he sent Bolton’s manuscript to the White House classification specialist Ellen Chevalier at the end of December and that Chevalier and Bolton spent nearly four months through nearly 500 book pages several times , “Often line by line.”
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According to the lawsuit, Chevalier completed his review in late April, and determined that the manuscript does not contain classified information. But early next month, Michael Ellis, a senior official National Security Council, began further examination of the manuscript and found classified information, the lawsuit said. The review is still underway earlier this month, when media reports revealed that Bolton intended to go ahead with his book.
In a statement Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union said the lawsuit is “doomed to failure.” Ben Wizner, director of speech organization, technology and privacy for the project, said the Supreme Court dismissed half a century ago, the Nixon administration’s efforts to block the release of the Pentagon Papers, and said it is well established that prior to publication restrictions are unconstitutional.
“As usual, government threats have nothing to do with safeguarding national security, and everything to do with avoiding scandal and shame,” Wizner said.
Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.
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