Justice Department Drops Donald Trump-Era Lawsuit Against John Bolton Over Book Publication

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The Justice Department dropped its lawsuit against Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, over the publication of his book last year.

The Simon & Schuster book, The Room Where It Happened, was an unflattering portrait of Trump as an impulsive and uninformed president who was out of his element in dealing with other world leaders.

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Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, said in a statement that the DOJ also has ended criminal grand jury proceedings into whether Bolton disclosed classified information.

“We argued from the outset that neither action was justifiable, because they were initiated only as a result of President Trump’s politically motivated order to prevent publication of the Ambassador’s book before the 2020 election,” Cooper said.

Cooper and DOJ attorneys filed a stipulation in federal court on Wednesday dismissing the lawsuit.

The Trump administration sued to block the book’s release last year, even though preview copies had been widely distributed and Bolton had sat down to talk to ABC News for a one-hour special.

A judge refused to block the book’s release, but concluded that Bolton did not complete the government’s prepublication review process. The government continued with its litigation, and a judgment in its favor could have led to its collection of book royalties.

In the statement, though, Cooper noted that Ellen Knight, an official in charge of the NSC’s pre-publication review process, had concluded before the book’s release that it contained no classified information. Her attorney issued a letter on her behalf detailing how “a designedly apolitical process had been commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose.” Bolton had sought discovery into whether Trump and White House officials attempted to intentionally delay the book’s release and influence decisions on what information was classified.

“By ending these proceedings without in any way penalizing Ambassador Bolton or limiting his proceeds from the book, the Department of Justice has tacitly acknowledged that President Trump and his White House officials acted illegitimately,” Cooper said.

Sarah Tinsley, a spokesperson for Bolton said, “These actions represent a complete vindication for Ambassador Bolton, and a repudiation of former President Trump’s attempt, under the pretext of protecting classified information, first to suppress the book’s publication and when that failed in court, to penalize the Ambassador.”

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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