The Trump administration has sued former national security adviser John Bolton to delay the release of a book that it says contains classified information.
It also complains that the book paints an unflattering portrait of Trump’s foreign policy decision-making.
According to AP, The civil lawsuit in Washington’s federal court follows warnings from President Donald Trump that Bolton could face a “criminal problem” if he doesn’t halt plans to publish the book.
The book is scheduled for release next week.
The complaint is the latest salvo in a contentious relationship between Trump and Bolton, who was abruptly forced from the White House in January after repeated disagreements on national security matters.
It moves their rift into court, where a judge will be asked to decide whether Bolton short-circuited proper procedures to get his book on the market — something his lawyer has strongly denied.
In its lawsuit, the Justice Department administration contends that the former adviser did not complete a pre-publication review to ensure that the manuscript did not contain classified material.
It requests that a federal court order Bolton to “instruct or request” that his publisher further delay publication of the book to allow for a completion of the national security review process and to “retrieve and dispose” of existing copies in a manner acceptable to the government.
The Justice Department also is asking a federal court to grant it the rights to all proceeds Bolton earns from the publication of the book.
Bolton’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, has said Bolton worked for months with classification specialists to avoid releasing classified material.
He has accused the White House of using national security information as a pretext to censor Bolton.
In its lawsuit, the Justice Department argues that Bolton’s job meant he “regularly came into possession of some of the most sensitive classified information that exists in the U.S. government.”
Officials said Bolton’s manuscript was more than 500 pages and was “rife with classified information, which he proposed to release to the world.”