John Bolton’s lawyers will argue in court Friday that the White House is trying to stop him from embarrassing President Trump with the release of his book ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.’
Bolton’s legal team will also argue that it’s simply too late to stop the sale of the book, which is set to come out Tuesday – as it’s already been published and is in the hands of major news organizations.
The former national security adviser’s legal team filed a motion Thursday night to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed by the White House Tuesday.
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton (left) and President Trump’s (right) administration will face off in court Friday over the publication of Bolton’s tell-all book
Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, will preside over a 1 p.m. Friday hearing on the matter.
‘If the First Amendment stands for anything, it is that the Government does not have the power to clasp its hand over the mouth of a citizen attempting to speak on a matter of great public import,’ Bolton’s lawyers wrote.
The Trump administration sued John Bolton on Tuesday, trying to stop the release of his White House memoir, due out June 23
They charged the U.S. government with asking the court to stop the book’s distribution ‘for the transparent purpose of preventing Ambassador Bolton from revealing embarrassing facts about the President’s conduct in office.’
‘It is difficult to conceive of speech that is closer to the core of the First Amendment than speech concerning presidential actions in office, including actions at the heart of the President’s impeachment, and it is difficult to conceive of a greater attack on the First Amendment than the suppression of that speech in the service of a reelection campaign,’ the lawyers said.
Bolton’s team argued that this was ‘precisely’ what was happening.
On Tuesday, the same day the White House sued the former Trump aide, Bolton was informed by the Trump administration of more changes that needed to be made to the book.
They included ‘passages describing or recounting a significant majority of the President’s conversations with his advisors and with foreign leaders.’
‘The government also deleted numerous passages portraying President Trump in an unflattering light,’ the lawyers said.
A day before, Trump told reporters, ‘I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified.’
‘So that would mean that if he wrote a book and if the book gets out he’s broken the law. I would think he would have criminal problems,’ Trump said of Bolton.
But as Bolton’s lawyer Charles Cooper previously laid out in The Wall Street Journal, Bolton spent nearly four months in a back-and-forth with Ellen Knight, the National Security Council’s senior director for prepublication review, who’s in charge of reviewing manuscripts so no classified information slips out.
In both the Journal and the legal motion, Bolton’s lawyers point to an April 27 exchange with Knight, who tells the author and ex-official, ‘that’s the last edit I really have to provide for you.’
They also discussed when he might receive his letter, the final step of the process.
‘At that moment, Ambassador Bolton fulfilled any obligation he had under the express terms of his non-disclosure agreement with the government,’ his lawyers said. ‘Nevertheless, the President, and those acting at his direction, have sought to delay publication of the book until after the election by withholding the customary pro-forma letter confirming that the book was cleared for publication.’
In the government’s lawsuit, the Department of Justice blasts Bolton for ‘unilaterally deciding that the prepublication review process is complete and deciding for himself whether classified information should be made public.’
John Bolton’s lawyers argued that distribution of his book can’t be stopped, using as an example the fact that CBS News reporter Paula Reid (right) brought a copy to the White House and held it in her hand as she questioned press secretary Kayleigh McEnany (left)
Bolton’s lawyers also made a practical argument in the Thursday night filing – that it’s too late and the book can’t be stopped.
Copies of the book ended up in the hands of reporters working for The New York Times and The Washington Post on Wednesday. DailyMail.com obtained a copy Wednesday evening.
‘Indeed, the surreal nature of the Government’s request to enjoin publication and distribution of the book was driven home earlier today when a CBS News reporter, holding a copy of the book in her hand, questioned the President’s press secretary about passages in the book on the White House lawn,’ Bolton’s legal team said, referencing CBS’ Paula Reid, who participated in a gaggle in the White House driveway with press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
The lawyers argue that the judge doesn’t even have to evaluate the case on First Amendment claims.
‘For the Government is asking the Court to order Ambassador Bolton to do something he is powerless to do,’ they said. ‘The practical reality is that neither Ambassador Bolton nor his publisher, Simon & Schuster, has any ability to stop copies from being sold to the general public on June 23.’