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President Trump is trying to block his former national security adviser John Bolton’s book from being published.
The immediate issue with the book, which contains claims about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, is that it may have classified information, according to the Washington Post.
The Room Where It Happened, which is so far scheduled to be released on March 17, “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information,” according to a letter sent last month from the White House’s National Security Council’s Records Management Division to Bolton’s lawyers.
“It also appears that some of this classified information is at the TOP SECRET level,” the letter said. “Under federal law and the nondisclosure agreements your client signed, as a condition for gaining access to classified information, the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information.”
Beyond classification issues, Trump has told aides the book should not be released before the 2020 election.
And in an off-the-record lunch with news anchors in the lead-up to his State of the Union, Trump told those in attendance that Bolton is a “traitor” and that the White House was “going to try and block the publication of the book.”
“After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House,” he said.
In excerpts of the manuscript that were leaked during the impeachment saga, Bolton alleged Trump made security aid to Ukraine dependent on the country investigating his political rival Joe Biden, the linchpin in the case made by House Democrats.
The claims, which the president denied, undermined the Trump defense team’s claim that the freeze of security assistance was not linked to the pressure campaign for investigations, but the GOP-led Senate voted not to hear from additional witnesses, and Bolton never testified in the impeachment trial despite his stated willingness to do so. Trump was acquitted by the GOP-led Senate earlier this month.