Two top Trump administration officials accused former national security adviser John Bolton of spreading lies in his new book, “The Room Where it Happened,” with one calling him a “traitor.”
In a statement titled “I Was In The Room Too,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Bolton of “spreading a number of lies, fully-spun half-truths, and outright falsehoods” in his memoir, which is slated for publication on June 23.
“It is both sad and dangerous that John Bolton’s final public role is that of a traitor who damaged America by violating his sacred trust with its people,” he said.
Bolton’s book is his recount of his time in the White House where he served as national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019 before he was fired by President Donald Trump over policy differences.
Pompeo, who became the latest ally of the president to condemn Bolton, said he had not read the book which the Trump administration is trying to block from publication because it would disclose classified information, but had read excerpts published in several media outlets.
“To our friends around the world: you know that President Trump’s America is a force for good in the world,” he continued.
Bolton in his 592-page memoir makes a number of allegations, including the claim that Trump sought Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s help to win reelection. It also reportedly claims that Bolton was a first-hand witness to a conversation about Ukraine that served as the core allegation of the impeachment proceedings against the president. The Senate found Trump not guilty of all the impeachment charges brought by the House. Bolton declined to testify during the impeachment.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that excerpts of the book that he reviewed “are full of lies and factual inaccuracies.”
Undermining Bolton’s credibility is his inclusion of classified material in the book, the secretary said, asserting: “John Bolton has put self-promotion ahead of the truth and of the interests of the country.”
Trump, the White House, and other top administration officials have vehemently refuted the claims made in the book.
Federal judge Judge Royce Lamberth scheduled a Friday hearing on the Trump administration’s request for a temporary restraining order against the book’s publication.
The Trump administration on Tuesday sued to block Bolton from publishing the memoir, arguing that parts of it were “rife with classified information” and would compromise national security if published before completion of a government review.
The Trump administration’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday, states that the White House National Security Council (NSC) “has determined that the manuscript in its present form contains certain passages—some up to several paragraphs in length—that contain classified national security information.”
The book contains government secrets classified at the highest level, including information that Bolton personally classified during his 17 months at the White House, according to the government’s complaint.
Its publication “would cause irreparable harm, because the disclosure of instances of classified information in the manuscript reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage, or exceptionally grave damage, to the national security of the United States,” the lawsuit said.
The Justice Department (DOJ) requested that the court declare that Bolton violated his nondisclosure agreement, by disclosing classified information, which is a federal crime.
The DOJ requested that the federal court order the former national security adviser to “instruct or request” publisher Simon and Schuster to delay publication to allow the memoir to undergo a national security review process, and “make the necessary deletions of classified information.”
The lawsuit also sought to order the publisher to “retrieve and dispose of” existing copies of the book.
“Bolton’s book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad,” Trump wrote on Twitter on June 18. “Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction. Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!”
Bolton didn’t issue a public statement in response to the lawsuit or Trump’s criticism, instead pointing his followers on Twitter to a pair of statements from liberal nonprofits.
“50 years ago, SCOTUS rejected the Nixon administration’s attempt to block the publication of the Pentagon Papers, establishing that government censorship is unconstitutional,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote on Twitter. “Any Trump administration efforts to stop John Bolton’s book from being published are doomed to fail.”
Bolton’s lawyer Charles Cooper said they were reviewing the lawsuit and “will respond in due course.” Cooper previously said his client worked for months with the NSC to ensure that classified material is not released.
Ivan Pentchoukov and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.