John Bolton fires back at Trump effort to block memoir's publication

The Trump administration alleges the book contains classified information. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Mr John Bolton urged a judge to toss aside the Trump administration's attempt to block the publication of his tell-all book about Mr Donald Trump, saying it's a "transparent" attempt to prevent the former national security adviser from revealing embarrassing facts about the President's conduct in office.

The Trump administration alleges the book - The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir - contains classified information and that Mr Bolton never got approval to have it published. But Mr Bolton says it's an attempt to stifle free speech and help Mr Trump's re-election.

"It is difficult to conceive of speech that is closer to the core of the First Amendment than speech concerning presidential actions in office, including actions at the heart of the President's impeachment," Mr Bolton said on Thursday (June 18) in a filing in Washington federal court.

"It is difficult to conceive of a greater attack on the First Amendment than the suppression of that speech in the service of a re-election campaign."

A hearing on the government's request is scheduled for Friday - a quick turnaround, given that the book is due to be released next Tuesday.

It will be the first public clash between lawyers for Mr Bolton and the government in a fight that has already rattled Mr Trump during his re-election fight.

The US sued Mr Bolton on Tuesday for breach of contract, and followed up on Wednesday with a request for a restraining order and an injunction to stop the publication of the book.

Some of the content of the book has already been widely reported, with media outlets, including Bloomberg News, obtaining advance copies, and it paints an unflattering portrait of Mr Trump as an incurious president driven by his political self-interest.

Mr Trump repeatedly sought to interfere in the US judicial system to curry favour with leaders from Turkey to China, according to the book.

According to Mr Bolton, Mr Trump tried to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to buy agricultural products, saying it would help him shore up support from farmers in the run-up to the presidential election.

Mr Trump called the book "a compilation of lies", in a response on Twitter.

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