June 19 (Reuters) - The Trump administration is heading to court on Friday afternoon to urge a federal judge to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington will consider the government’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to stop the memoir’s release, because it contained classified information and publication could threaten national security.
Several excerpts have already been released from the book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” which is scheduled for release on Tuesday.
The book has drawn attention for its withering portrayal of Trump, including alleged improprieties far more extensive than the accusations underlying the president’s impeachment trial, where he was acquitted in February.
Bolton is a foreign policy hawk who was ousted last September after 17 months as national security adviser.
He accused Trump in the memoir of exhibiting “fundamentally unacceptable behavior” that eroded the legitimacy of the presidency, and being driven by his own political interests.
Bolton said Trump, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 3, once explicitly sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win a second term.
Trump tweeted on Thursday that the book was “a compilation of lies and made up stories,” which could undermine the argument that publication could pose a threat.
The government supported its argument with filings from several senior intelligence officials who said publishing would damage national security.
Simon & Schuster, Bolton’s publisher, has rejected the government’s accusations, and lawyers for Bolton said more than 200,000 copies of the book have already been distributed.
Bolton’s lawyers also called an injunction an illegal prior restraint, citing the Supreme Court’s 1971 rejection of the Nixon administration’s bid to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers, which detailed U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)