- Jack Williams
- Jun 15 2020, 18:44 ET
- Updated: Jun 15 2020, 18:48 ET
PRESIDENT Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that John Bolton, his former national security adviser, will have a “very strong criminal problem” if he proceeds in publishing a tell-all book.
Bolton’s memoir is set to be released on June 23, but Trump called it “highly inappropriate” and said that he would consider every conversation he has had with Bolton “to be highly classified.”
Trump ousted Bolton as National Security Advisor last fall, which came after the pair had disputes over how to handle foreign policy challenges like Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan.
Bolton, a meticulous note-taker and Trump’s third National Security Advisor, is expected to shed new light on the president’s dealings with foreign countries as well as his impeachment.
Trump said: “If he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he’s broken the law and I would think you would have criminal problems. I hope so.”
He added: “If this guy is writing things about conversations or about anything — and maybe he is not telling the truth. He’s been known not to tell the truth, a lot.”
Bolton’s book, titled “The Room Where It Happened,” was initially set to be published earlier this year, but it was reportedly met with delays as it passed through prepublication reviews by the National Security Council.
Before Trump spoke on Monday, sources told ABC News that they expected the Trump administration to file a lawsuit in federal court seeking an injunction to block the book from being released in its current form.
That challenge is expected to begin over the coming days, sources said.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr, who was sat next to President Trump on Monday, said the Justice Department is looking to ensure Bolton makes “the necessary deletions of classified information.”
Barr said: “I don’t know of any book that’s been published so quickly while the officeholders are still in government, and it’s about very current events, current leaders and current discussions of current policy issues, many of which are inherently classified.”
While Barr has claimed Bolton did not completed the pre-publication review with the White House, his lawyer has claimed otherwise.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last week, Chuck Cooper wrote how Bolton underwent a four-month review and that the White House’s pushback is coming at the last minute.
Cooper claimed such challenges are coming after “weeks of silence” from the White House, adding that the Trump administration was using a “transparent attempt to use national security as a pretext to censor Mr. Bolton.”
Parts of Bolton’s book are expected to focus on President Trump’s impeachment.
Bolton was criticized in the past for declining to testify during the president’s impeachment – even though he claimed to have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s involvement in a campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Describing the book, Bolton’s publisher writes: “What Bolton saw astonished him: a President for whom getting reelected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation.”
Bolton details potentially impeachment-worthy “transgression” across “the full range” of Trump’s foreign policy, according to a description posted online.
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