From a First Amendment perspective, it will be a much bigger problem if the book doesn’t come out. American politicians do not veto unremembered teams – everyone knows that. But for Trump, the First Amendment is always about putting his own interests “first.” So maybe they will still try to block the release of the book.
Trump was inappropriate when asked about the possibility of a lawsuit – he said “they are in court or will be in court soon” because of the book. It’s a “I’ll believe it when I see it” situation given Trump’s team’s history of threatening a lawsuit, but not still.
Trump’s shocking statements
With my notes in parentheses:
“Someone said he came out and wrote a book.” (The book was released to the world a few months ago and is already a bestseller based on pre-order sales.) “If he wrote the book” (did) “I can’t imagine he can” (did) “because it’s top secret information.” (That is debatable – see below.) “Even conversations with me, they are highly classified …” I will consider any conversation with me by the President highly classified. “(What ?!)
Bill Barr’s argument
Both Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr looked embarrassed when asked about this topic during the WH event. When Trump called on Barr to comment, AG said that figures like Bolton “must go through the verification process” re: classified data and “we don’t believe Bolton went through that process, didn’t complete that process, and is therefore in violation of that agreement . ”Bolton’s camp disputes this up and down. Just look at the timeline: The book was months late due to the review process.
Previous restraint !?
Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Institute for First Changes Knight in Columbia U, said this Monday: “With good reason, U.S. courts almost never issue prior restrictions on the publication of matters of public interest. Always think too often. The government’s setting in this case is particularly troubling given credible reports that the White House’s real concern is not keeping national security secrets but suppressing criticism of the president. It is highly doubtful that the government can meet the extremely high standard that must be met to justify a ban.
There are also practical factors. Copies of “The Room in Which It Happened” have already been printed and shipped to distribution sites. ABC News reporters have already read the book, as Martha Raddatz sat down with Bolton on Monday for an interview to be held on Sunday night at a special time. Other journalists are likely to get the book in the next few days. So, if Trump’s administrator or Trump’s campaign tries to initiate a lawsuit to block the publication of the book, the lawsuit will be turned into an inability …
What is Trump afraid of in this book?
Well, according to the book’s summary, “Trump’s transgressions like Ukraine have existed throughout the range of his foreign policy – and Bolton documents exactly what they were and those attempts by him and others in the administration to raise alarms about them.”
BTW, the Attorney General is wrong in this regard:
Barr told reporters on Monday “this is truly unprecedented. I don’t know of any book that has been published so quickly as long as you know that office holders are still in government and that these are current events …
That is completely untrue. Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton and Bob Gates published books on current national security issues after the departure of the Obama administrator, and their bills were not flattering at all even though their books were published while Obama was still in power. And during the Bush administration, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan wrote a dishonest book when Bush was still in power.
Simon and Schuster in the spotlight
Bolton’s book is one of several titles published by Trump.