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Justice Department Drops Lawsuit Against John Bolton and Tell-all Book

— June 17, 2021

Attorneys for Bolton have said the Biden administration’s decision is tantamount to a total vindication for Trump’s one-time national security adviser.

The federal Department of Justice has dropped its lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton.

According to CNN, the Justice Department sued Bolton after he published a book. In its lawsuit, the agency claimed that Bolton revealed classified information without authorization.

Bolton long maintained that his book had been cleared for publication, since government lawyers determined it no longer contained classified information. However, the Trump administration allegedly appointed another, inexperienced official to conduct another review of the manuscript, who flagged “hundreds” of potentially problematic passages.

But on Wednesday, the government opted to drop its case against Bolton, as well as a grand jury investigation into the book’s publication.

The Associated Press recalls that the Trump administration sued Bolton in 2020, seeking to block the publication of his book, “The Room Where It Happened.” Alongside stopping Bolton’s book from hitting shelves, the Justice Department also wanted to recover copies that already been distributed to retailers.

A man in a suit stands at a podium, pointing.
Donald Trump. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

“The Room Where It Happened,” as has reported before, offered a behind-the-scenes—and often unflattering—portrayal of former President Donald Trump’s foreign policy objectives, as well as his interactions with overseas leaders. Bolton’s book, among other things, recalled an incident wherein Trump purportedly asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 election, as well as another in which Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to open an investigation into Joe Biden’s son.

But on Wednesday, the Justice Department back-tracked, dropping all its claims against Bolton.

Sarah Tinsley, a spokesperson for Bolton, said the Biden administration’s decision should serve as vindication.

“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,” Tinsley said in a statement.

Similarly, Bolton’s attorney—Charles Cooper—offered praise to the Biden administration for ending what always appeared to have been a politically motivated case.

“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.

“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.”

Bolton, adds CNN, could have lost millions of dollars in profits had the Justice Department succeeded in either blocking the further publication of his book or garnishing royalties.


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