(C) Bloomberg. John Bolton, national security advisor, speaks before U.S. President Donald Trump signs a memorandum establishing the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump accused former National Security Advisor John Bolton of breaking the law by trying to publish a book on his time in the White House, as his administration was seeking an emergency restraining order to halt its publication.
“He broke the law, very simple. As much as it’s going to be broken,” Trump told Sean Hannity in an interview on Fox News Wednesday night. “This is highly classified.”
According to an excerpt of Bolton’s memoir published by the Wall Street Journal, Trump asked China’s leader, Xi Jinping, during the G-20 summit in Japan last year to help him win re-election by buying more U.S. farm products.
That accusation is one of many that paint a devastating portrait of the Trump presidency. Bolton, the most senior official in this White House to publish an account of his experience, also claimed that Trump encouraged Xi to build detention camps in the Xinjiang region to imprison hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims.
In the Fox News interview, Trump retorted that Bolton had been a “washed up guy” when he brought him into the administration.
“I gave him a chance, he couldn’t get Senate-confirmed, so I gave him a non-Senate confirmed position, where I could just put him there, see how he worked. And I wasn’t very enamored,” Trump said.
Speaking to Hannity by telephone, the president said that “nobody has been tough on China and nobody has been tough on Russia like I have. And that’s in the record books and it’s not even close. The last administration did nothing on either.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Trump administration sought an emergency injunction from a federal court in Washington to stop publication of the book.
The government argued that Bolton included classified information in the book and had failed to get approval. Administration lawyers asked for a preliminary injunction to block sales.
“Disclosure of the manuscript will damage the national security of the United States,” the government said in the complaint.
The injunction should “instruct his publisher to take any and all available steps to retrieve and destroy any copies of the book that may be in the possession of any third party,” the government said.
Bolton’s explosive charges have already become an issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, said in a statement earlier Wednesday that “if these accounts are true, it’s not only morally repugnant, it’s a violation of Donald Trump’s sacred duty to the American people to protect America’s interests and defend our values.”
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Trump Accuses Bolton of Breaking the Law With Tell-All Memoir