President Trump has reportedly personally called for the publication of John Bolton’s upcoming book to be blocked, telling staff he thinks his former national security adviser is “a traitor”, according to The Washington Post.
People familiar with the issue told the Post that Trump has directly been involved in the process and believes everything he said to Bolton about national security is considered classified and should not be published.
The White House already sought to block publication of Bolton’s book last month, writing in a letter that it contained “significant amounts of classified information.” However, the letter also stated that the White House would work with Bolton to ensure his “ability to tell his story in a manner that protects U.S. national security.”
The Post’s report marks the first alleged involvement by Trump in the process, with insiders telling the newspaper that Trump told his lawyers Bolton’s new book, “The Room Where it Happened”, should not be published before the November election.
According to the Post, Trump also reportedly told national television anchors during an off-the-record Feb. 4 lunch meeting that the book’s material was “highly classified” and Bolton was a “traitor”.
“We’re going to try and block the publication of the book,” Trump reportedly said during the meeting. “After I leave office, he can do this. But not in the White House.”
Bolton’s book includes major allegations against Trump regarding his work in Ukraine, including that the President was involved in tying millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine to investigations into the Biden family, which was the focus of the impeachment inquiry against the President.
Bolton has promised his book will reveal firsthand accounts of his time at the White House, but critics have hit the former top adviser for waiting until after the impeachment inquiry to reveal that information. Many had called for Bolton to testify in the Senate trial, but further witnesses were not called after the House phase of impeachment.
Trump has denied the allegations made in Bolton’s book, calling them “nasty” and “untrue”.
“If I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?” Trump wrote in one tweet.
Bolton has fought back against plans to deem part of his book classified, saying earlier this week that it amounted to “censorship”.
“For all the focus on Ukraine and impeachment trial: to me there are portions of the manuscript that deal with Ukraine — I view that as the sprinkles on an ice cream sundae, in terms of the book,” he reportedly said. “This is an effort to write history. I did the best I can … We’ll see what happens with the censorship.”
Bolton left the administration in September after repeated disagreements with his former boss on foreign policy.