By claiming John Bolton's upcoming book is all false, Donald Trump has undermined his legal argument against its publication.
The Department of Justice is suing to block publication of the book by Trump's former national security adviser, "The Room Where It Happened," claiming it contains classified information the release of which would harm national security. But on Thursday, Trump suggested that the unflattering book is completely untrue.
"Wacko John Bolton's 'exceedingly tedious' (New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories," Trump tweeted.
"Bolton's book, which is getting terrible reviews, is a compilation of lies and made up stories, all intended to make me look bad," he added a few hours later. "Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction. Just trying to get even for firing him like the sick puppy he is!"
As the Associated Press noted on Thursday, "inaccurate information could not be classified." But Trump's Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that The Room Where It Happened divulges classified information, and Trump has repeatedly suggested his administration might also pursue criminal charges against Bolton.
Trump appears to suggest that the information in Bolton's book is both classified and false.
"I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified," he told reporters on Monday. "So that would mean that, if he wrote a book and if the book gets out, he's broken the law, and I would think that he would have criminal problems. I hope so."
Trump had claimed in January that Bolton would not be able to recount conversations because "nothing was ever said to John Bolton."
In its suit seeking to stop the book's publication, the Justice Department alleges that the National Security Council "has determined that the manuscript in its present form contains certain passages—some up to several paragraphs in length—that contain classified national security information.
"In fact, the NSC has determined that information in the manuscript is classified at the Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret levels," the document reads. "Accordingly, the publication and release of The Room Where It Happened would cause irreparable harm, because the disclosure of instances of classified information in the manuscript could be expected to cause serious damage, or exceptionally grave damage, to the national security of the United States."
Trump told Fox News that Bolton acted illegally in writing about his time in the White House. "So, the terrible, terrible thing that he did. But he broke the law, very simple, I mean, as much as it's going to be broken," he said. "This is highly classified. That's the highest stage. It's highly classified information. And he did not have approval. That's come out now very loud and very strong."
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, however, Trump called Bolton "a liar."
"Everybody in the White House hated John Bolton," Trump said.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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