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Trump administration sues Bolton over book dispute

The suit, filed in Washington, DC, federal court, alleges that Bolton’s 500-plus page manuscript was “rife with classified information,” and prosecutors say that Bolton backed out of an ongoing White House vetting process for the book that he’d been obligated to do as a result of agreements he’d signed.

“(Bolton) struck a bargain with the United States as a condition of his employment in one of the most sensitive and important national security positions in the United States Government and now wants to renege on that bargain by unilaterally deciding that the prepublication review process is complete and deciding for himself whether classified information should be made public,” prosecutors write.

The lawsuit marks the latest White House effort against Bolton after months of back-and-forth between the National Security Council and Bolton’s representatives over whether the book contains classified information. Simon & Schuster previously announced that Bolton’s book, “In the Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” would be released on June 23.

Bolton’s book has already shipped to warehouses ahead of its scheduled release. He has taped an interview with ABC slated to air Sunday. And a source close to him says he is intent on publishing the book as scheduled Tuesday, meaning he expects to deal with any ramifications from the administration in the aftermath, not before.

Trump has been increasingly irritated by the notion that his former national security adviser will publish a tell-all book, multiple sources said. He told staff he wanted to halt its publication and mused privately about suing him to stop it, a tactic the President has relied on before when former officials or people close to him have written books he thinks will be unfavorable. He has a history of filing lawsuits he later drops.

On Monday, Trump wrongly asserted that any conversations with him are classified and hinted at possible legal action.

“They’re in court or they’ll soon be in court,” Trump said. “But he understands he did not complete a process or anywhere near complete a process.”

Trump said Bolton would have “criminal problems” if the book was published as is. Initially, Attorney General William Barr did not confirm that his department was preparing a lawsuit but said the administration was focused on getting Bolton to complete the clearance process for publishing books.

“People who come to work in the government and have access to sensitive information generally sign an agreement that says when they leave government, if they write something that draws on or might reflect some of the information they’ve head access to, they have to go through a clearance process before they can publish the book,” Barr said on Monday. “We don’t think Bolton has gone through that process, hasn’t completed that process.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

CNN’s Kylie Atwood and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.

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