President Donald Trump, viewing former National Security Adviser as "a traitor," will seek to block John Bolton's book on the basis of executive privilege, The Washington Post reported.
The president claims any conversation between him and Bolton is classified and told aides Bolton's "The Room Where It Happened" should not be published before the November election, according to two Post sources.
"The NSC's pre-publication review of Amb. Bolton's manuscript is proceeding," Bolton's lawyer, Charles J. Cooper told the Post. "Amb. Bolton is continuing to pursue it in good faith. We have nothing to say beyond that."
The "traitor" comment came during the Feb. 4 off-the-record lunch with anchors before the State of the Union address, per the sources.
"We're going to try and block the publication of the book," Trump said, per the report. "After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House.
"I give the guy a break. I give him a job. And then he turns on me. He's just making things up."
Despite seeking to get his book published on schedule March 17, Bolton told a Vanderbilt University forum his testimony would not have impacted the outcome of the Senate's impeachment trial vote, calling the House articles of impeachment "grossly partisan."
"People can argue about what I should have said and what I should have done," Bolton said. "I would bet you a dollar right here and now, my testimony would have made no difference to the ultimate outcome."
In past legal precedent, Matt Bissonnette was forced to turn over to the government all the profits and future royalties of his book "No Easy Day" because he published it before getting cleared by the Pentagon.
Robert Luskin was Bissonnette's attorney in that case and acknowledges the presidential power of delaying Bolton's book publishing, pending judicial review, the Post reported.
"The challenge for Bolton is that the president has pretty broad power to classify or declassify; but once the manuscript has actually been submitted for review, Bolton would have the right to challenge undue delay or purely capricious or vindictive exercises of the government's authority to review and require changes," Luskin told the Post. "He could get judicial review, but the process would not be fast and the rules not especially clear."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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