The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday filed a request for an emergency restraining order against former national security adviser John Bolton to block the publication of his new book, “The Room Where It Happened.”
The order, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., hours after an excerpt of the book was published by The Wall Street Journal, alleges that Bolton’s book contains confidential and classified information, and should be stopped from public dissemination “to control national security information and reduce the possibility of serious damage to the national security.”
The government requested that a hearing take place this Friday. The book is scheduled to be published Tuesday.
Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Bolton’s book, said in a statement that the government’s filing was a “frivolous, politically motivated exercise in futility.”
“Hundreds of thousands of copies of the book have already been distributed around the country and the world,” the company said, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter.
In the published excerpt of Bolton’s book, President Donald Trump’s foreign policy dealings, specifically with China, are harshly criticized. Bolton claims, for instance, that Trump sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win reelection in 2020 by asking China to buy agricultural products, such as soybeans and wheat, from key states in the U.S.
Bolton said Trump also encouraged Xi to build facilities akin to “concentration camps” to detain Uighur Muslims, telling the Chinese leader last year that he “should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do,” according to the excerpt.
The Trump administration had already sued Bolton to stymie the publication of his book, which the suit said contains classified information. The administration also claims Bolton did not complete a required prepublication review for the book.
On Monday, Trump warned that Bolton could face a “criminal problem” if he insists on pushing ahead with publication.
Bolton’s attorney Chuck Cooper has denied the book contains classified material and said Bolton “participated in an arduous, good faith review for months and was informed in April by a career White House official assigned to conduct the review that the final version of the book did not contain classified material,” The Washington Post reported.
Cooper added that the administration’s claim that Bolton had failed to complete the prepublication review was a “pretext to censor or delay Mr. Bolton, in violation of his constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public import.”