Those who have christened neocon ultra-hawk John Bolton of all people a resistance hero are no doubt waiting with bated breath for his book "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," to hit shelves, given it's expected to be filled with "multiple revelations about Trump's conduct in office," which will 'go beyond Ukraine' as one source recently put it to Axios.
President Trump hit back on Monday, slamming Bolton's book as “totally inappropriate” while issuing a not-so-veiled threat of legal repercussions over the "highly classified" information potentially contained therein.
“If he wrote a book, I can’t imagine that he can because that’s highly classified information,” Trump told reporters at the White House Monday.
The president suggested his administration would use the full weight of the law against the former top national security official:
“I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified. So that would mean if he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he’s broken the law and I would think he would have criminal problems,” Trump continued threateningly.
Though not saying so directly, the president appeared to validate reports that he plans to file a lawsuit blocking the memoir's release by Simon & Schuster, set for June 23.
The company previously pushed back the publication date while confirming a US government security review of its contents was underway — standard for any book authored by intelligence officials or high level officials privy to classified briefings and information.
Trump on Bolton’s Book: I don’t think he’s even supposed to be calling himself an ambassador because he couldn’t get senate confirmed... That’s highly classified information. Even the conversations with me, they’re highly classified... If the book gets out, he’s broken the law pic.twitter.com/FFVcFHobjy— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) June 15, 2020
During Monday's press briefing Trump also took a swipe at Bolton's ability to present an authentic narrative, saying the former national security adviser has "been known not to tell the truth, a lot.”
But given the new controversy surrounding the book now that Trump weighed in so forcefully, it will be interesting if the release date gets pushed back again.
Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, previously publicly stated his belief that the administration is actively trying quash the book and its more revealing passages using national security and classification as a “pretext” to censor Bolton, ultimately “in violation of his constitutional right to speak on matters of the utmost public import.”
Nearly a week ago The New York Times revealed that "A White House official said Mr. Bolton would be given a redacted version of his manuscript by June 19, four days before the book’s current publication date."
So as the clock ticks down, the war of words — and more significantly, the legal threats — look to grow more intense.