Jun 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DOJ applies for emergency restraining order against John Bolton


Bolton at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on February 17. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department applied for an emergency temporary restraining order against former national security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday, in an attempt to block the publication of his tell-all book and what the agency identifies as classified information.

Driving the news: Significant excerpts from Bolton's book were published by the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

What's new: Bolton alleges that President Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to increase agricultural purchases from the U.S. to improve his electoral prospects in farming states, according to advanced copies of the book published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The majority of this motion is largely irrelevant, as Bolton himself can be enjoined by DOJ until they're blue in the face and it won't matter one bit," national security lawyer Bradley Moss tweeted on Wednesday. "Bolton no longer has control or authority over the book: his publisher does."

  • The White House referred Axios to a comment from press secretary Kayleigh McEnany at a Wednesday briefing when asked about details that emerged in Bolton's allegations. McEnany said Wednesday that the book is "full of classified information."
  • "Tonight’s filing by the government is a frivolous, politically motivated exercise in futility. Hundreds of thousands of copies of John Bolton’s THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED have already been distributed around the country and the world. The injunction as requested by the government would accomplish nothing," Simon & Schuster's senior vice president for corporate communications said in a statement on Wednesday.
  • The DOJ filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday to block Bolton from publishing the book. Bolton's lawyer Charles Cooper said in a statement in response to the lawsuit, "We are reviewing the Government’s complaint, and will respond in due course."

What's next: Prosecutors are requesting the U.S. District Court schedule a hearing on the requested restraining order by Friday, since Bolton's book is scheduled to be released next Tuesday.

Read the emergency restraining order application:

Go deeper: Highlights from the excerpts of John Bolton's book

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