Former national security advisor John Bolton, seen in February, is scheduled to publish a memoir of his time with the Trump administration on June 23, and the Justice Department is trying to block publication.
The suit acknowledges that Bolton did submit his manuscript to the National Security Council for a pre-publication review but said that Bolton "apparently became dissatisfied at the pace of NSC's review" and made a decision to "take matters into his own hands", instead of waiting until after the pre-publication review was finished, by announcing a June 23 publication date with his publisher.
"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 asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning", Mr Trump tweeted, then adding he would appoint a replacement the next week.
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Attorney General William Barr also said that the administration does not believe that "necessary deletions of classified information" have taken place, putting Bolton in violation of agreements on the book.
"He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win", Mr Bolton writes, according to the paper. It's not up to his publisher to decide whether or not they've gone through the process. "I don't know of any book that has been published so quickly while the officeholders are still in government, and it's about very current events, current leaders and current policy issues, many of which are now classified".
According to the Department of Justice complaint, it contains "classified information". The suit also requests that Bolton be ordered to notify Simon & Schuster that he was not authorized to disclose the information in the book, that the publisher "further delay" the release of the book and to take "any and all available steps to retrieve and dispose" of any copies of the book that are in the hands of third-parties.
The government says Bolton is in breach of basic secrecy rules after refusing to wait for the National Security Council to go through the text, as required.
Bolton came under intense criticism a year ago after refusing to testify at Trump's impeachment hearings, launched by Democratic lawmakers who said the president abused his authorities in dealings with Ukraine. "The final, published version of this book reflects those changes".