Bolton Appears Prepared To Go To War With Trump Over His Damning Book Manuscript

How many legal battles does a president need to be involved in before it becomes clear he shouldn't be in office?

575 points

The last thing President Donald Trump needs right now is another legal battle in court. But it looks like he’s heading for one with former National Security Advisor John Bolton as he continues to try to block Bolton’s book from being published.

Trump is currently in the middle of a Senate impeachment trial for abusing his power and obstructing Congress because of his Ukraine extortion scheme. And the one man who could destroy Trump’s defense is Bolton.

Bolton appeared to be ready to testify had the Senate agreed to call him, but Senate Republicans officially banned witness testimony during the impeachment trial on Friday despite a damning leak of a manuscript Bolton sent to the White House that features around two dozen pages on Trump’s Ukraine scandal. Those pages allegedly include damning details that confirm Trump’s quid pro quo.

But Trump is blocking Bolton from publishing by declaring the information “classified.”

“The manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information,” National Security Council senior director for records Ellen Knight announced in a statement.

Bolton and his lawyer, however, strongly disagree.

“We do not believe any of that information could reasonably be considered classified,” Bolton’s lawyer Chuck Cooper wrote.

And now the Washington Post reports that the two sides are heading for a collision in court, which would only magnify Trump’s Ukraine scandal even further as millions of Americans wonder what Trump is so desperate to hide. Such a war in court would be a long and public one heading into the 2020 Election.

“A person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the dispute, said Bolton’s team expects a lengthy fight over the issue but appears determined to see it through,” the Post reported.

The book is scheduled to be published in March, so the goal appears to be to delay it past that deadline to stop it.

“If the administration simply doesn’t want the manuscript to see the light of day, they could just drag it out far beyond the March publication date,” Department of Defense speechwriter Guy Snodgrass observed.

Bolton stands to lose a lot of potential book money considering Americans are already clamoring to hear what he has to say about the Ukraine scheme.

Former National Security Council records director John Ficklin told the Post that Bolton is the one who will have a fight on his hands.

“The president has ultimate authority for deciding what is classified and what is not classified, and Mr. Bolton has an uphill battle to convince the president that there’s no classified information in there,” Ficklin said.

Trump could also claim “executive privilege,” which would ultimately result in a court challenge Trump could lose with the election approaching. Of course, he could lose in court anyway if the judge determines that nothing in Bolton’s manuscript warrants being slapped with a “classified” label.

In this particular case, Trump seems to be using his power to classify in a desperate effort to hide a witness account of his abuse of power regarding Ukraine. If Bolton’s book were to be published this year before the election, the American electorate would likely see that he really should have been called to testify. It would not only damage Trump’s re-election chances, but it would also doom Republicans in several races across the country.

Needless to say, this is one legal proceeding that everyone will be seriously interested in keeping an eye on.

Featured image via YouTube screen capture

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