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Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday seeking to block former national security adviser John Bolton from publishing his tell-all book on June 23, claiming that Bolton breached his contract by failing to complete a pre-publication review for classified information.

The big picture: The memoir by Bolton, a prolific note taker, is expected to shed light on alleged misconduct by President Trump related to his dealings with foreign countries. Trump claimed on Monday that Bolton would have a "very strong criminal problem" if he proceeded with publishing the book, stating: “I will consider every conversation with me as president to be highly classified."

The other side: 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."

  • Cooper claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that his client has already undergone four months of "perhaps the most extensive and intensive prepublication review in NSC history," before the White House official who Bolton was coordinating with suddenly stopped responding.
  • The attorney claims that the White House has purposely stalled the process as a "transparent attempt to use national security as a pretext to censor Mr. Bolton."
  • Bolton pointed on Twitter to the following statement from the ACLU: "50 years ago, SCOTUS rejected the Nixon administration's attempt to block the publication of the Pentagon Papers, establishing that government censorship is unconstitutional. Any Trump administration efforts to stop John Bolton’s book from being published are doomed to fail."

Between the lines: National security lawyer Bradley Moss tweeted Tuesday, "The civil case against Bolton is easy and expected: he'll never see a dime from this book. The big question, given that the lawsuit alleges there is classified information that was disseminated via the book, is if they bring criminal [charges]. That gets trickier to prove."

What they're saying:

"The United States is not seeking to censor any legitimate aspect of Defendant’s manuscript; it merely seeks an order requiring Defendant to complete the prepublication review process and to take all steps necessary to ensure that only a manuscript that has been officially authorized through that process—and is thus free of classified information—is disseminated publicly.
Given that Defendant has already taken steps to disclose or publish the manuscript to unauthorized persons without prior written authorization, the United States also seeks an order establishing a constructive trust on any profits obtained from the disclosure or dissemination of The Room Where it Happened, particularly if Defendant refuses to complete the prepublication review process and obtain the required prior written authorization before proceeding with publishing the book."
— Justice Department lawsuit

Read the full lawsuit.

Go deeper

Mary Trump claims in lawsuit that the president and his siblings "swindled" her inheritance

Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump's niece filed a lawsuit on Thursday alleging that the president and other family members "swindled her" out of an inheritance worth tens of millions, per the suit filed with New York's Supreme Court.

The big picture: Mary Trump's lawsuit, filed two months after her memoir portrayed her uncle as a dangerous sociopath, references a massive 2018 New York Times investigation that found the Trump family reportedly engaged in dubious tax schemes, including outright fraud, in the 1990s.

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.