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Photo: Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The White House says that former national security adviser John Bolton's book contains top secret information in a letter addressed to his attorney that was publicly released Wednesday.

The state of play: The development, first reported by CNN's Jake Tapper, sets up a potential legal battle between Bolton and the White House over the book's publication, which is currently scheduled for March 17.

  • The letter, dated Jan. 23, claims the book contains "significant amounts of classified information" that could "cause exceptionally grave harm" to U.S. national security.
  • It was signed by Ellen Knight, the National Security Council's senior director for records, access and information security management.
  • The letter says, "the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information" and that the White House will be in touch with "additional, more detailed guidance regarding next steps" on how to move forward.

The big picture: It comes amid an ongoing battle over whether to call Bolton as a witness in President Trump's Senate impeachment trial after the manuscript's account of the Ukraine saga leaked to the New York Times.

  • Trump chimed in regarding Bolton on Twitter Wednesday, saying the U.S. "would be in World War Six by now" if he had listened to his former national security head during his tenure.
  • The president also foreshadowed this decision about Bolton's "nasty & untrue" book, which was submitted last month to the White House for pre-publication review, claiming it contained "All Classified National Security."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.