Former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new tell-all memoir about his time at the White House is set to be released publicly in a few days, despite the ongoing efforts of the Trump administration to prevent that from happening.
The latest reports indicate that the administration has considered pursuing criminal charges against Bolton if the book is found to contain classified material not authorized for public dissemination, according to Breitbart.
Controversy has surrounded The Room Where It Happened for weeks prior to its scheduled publication date, and the book has faced increasing challenges from President Donald Trump in recent days.
“Cause irreparable damage to national security”
The Hill reported that the U.S. Department of Justice sought a temporary restraining order on Wednesday that would prevent the publication of the book on its current schedule.
“The type of classified information in these passages is the type of information that foreign adversaries of the United States seek to obtain, at great cost, through covert intelligence,” Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe argued, according to The Hill.
He went on to caution that release of such information “could reveal, in some instances, the limits and, in some instances, the capabilities of U.S. intelligence collection and would cause irreparable damage to national security.”
Some of the book’s contents have already been cleared for publication by reporters who received advanced copies, as reported by ABC News.
“Appeared to contain classified information”
A day before the request for a federal restraining order, the Trump administration filed a civil suit against Bolton in a similar attempt to prevent his memoir’s release. In addition to seeking a delayed publication date, that suit called for the publishing company to “retrieve and dispose” of any copies already in circulation, Breitbart noted.
Furthermore, the court documents requested that Bolton be prevented from receiving any of the book’s sales profits, especially if he “refuses to complete the prepublication review process and obtain the required prior written authorization before proceeding with publishing the book.”
As Breitbart explained, the timeline of controversy regarding the memoir traces back to efforts in January to scrub classified information during an initial review period that reportedly ended in April.
In May, however, Bolton’s successor, Robert O’Brien, ordered a second review after reportedly expressing concerns “that the manuscript still appeared to contain classified information, in part because the same administration the author served is still in office and the manuscript described sensitive information about ongoing foreign policy issues.”
Despite the White House efforts, Bolton’s book is still set for release on Tuesday. It remains unclear whether last-minute efforts to prevent that will be successful — and whether its author will face any legal issues as a result.