- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2020

President Trump said former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton “has been known not to tell the truth,” as the White House prepares to file suit in federal court to block the release of his new book.

The president said it is “highly inappropriate” for Mr. Bolton to write a book, saying it still contains highly classified government secrets.

“That’s highly classified information, even conversations with me,” Mr. Trump said. “If the book gets out, he’s broken the law. I would think he would have criminal problems — I hope so. They’ll soon be in court.”

The president said the man he once tapped as his top national security aide isn’t reliable.

“Maybe he’s not telling the truth, he’s been known not to tell the truth, a lot,” the president told reporters at the White House.

Mr. Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” has been reviewed by the White House, which objected to information said to be classified. It is due out on June 23.

Leaks indicate that the book will be highly unflattering to the president.

Attorney General William P. Barr said Mr. Bolton “hasn’t completed the process” for clearance of books written by former officials. He said it was “unprecedented” that the book would be published while Mr. Trump is still in office.

“We don’t believe that Bolton went through that process … and therefore is in violation of that [nondisclosure] agreement,” Mr. Barr said.

Asked what legal action the government will take, Mr. Barr said the Justice Department is currently trying to get Mr. Bolton to make “the necessary deletions” of classified material.

Jameel Jaffer, executive director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said a lawsuit by the administration would likely fail as a matter of prior restraint.

“For good reason, American courts almost never issue prior restraints against the publication of matters of public concern,” he said. “Prior restraints squelch speech before it occurs and almost always sweep too broadly.”

He added, “The request the government is making in this case is particularly disturbing against the background of credible reports that the White House’s real concern here is not safeguarding national-security secrets but suppressing criticism of the president. It’s highly doubtful that the government can meet the exceptionally high standard that must be met in order to justify an injunction against publication.”

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