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The Justice Department leaves behind a criminal investigation and a lawsuit related to John Bolton’s book from the Trump era

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The criminal investigation of the Trump era had examined whether Bolton’s book illegally revealed national security information, while the lawsuit had attempted to obtain Bolton’s rights to publishing his book without the full approval of the administration.

The end of the proceedings marks a new conclusion by the Biden administration of politically charged cases and investigative moves toward Trump’s political opponents. In recent weeks, the Justice Department has abandoned or changed its focus on several issues that the Trump-era department had pursued and announced that its now deputy prosecutor, Lisa Monaco, is studying “potentially problematic issues.” in addition to the policies that the new administration may want to change.

The Justice Department that withdrew the cases comes on the one-year anniversary of the emergency lawsuit against Bolton.

Bolton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” on Wednesday that his book “went through a pre-publication review process” and that “it was cleaned up by the expert team that reviewed it, hard.” .

“Look, I think this was a vindication of the view I’ve had from the beginning that Trump used the issue of classified information solely as a pretext to try to suppress a book he didn’t want to come out before the November 2020 election.” , said the cases were withdrawn.

Pressed on whether he believed the court proceedings were a retributive exercise, Bolton said, “As with almost everything Trump involves, it was about Trump and his political fortunes.”

Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, applauded President Joe Biden’s Justice Department for ending all legal proceedings against Trump’s advisory political enemy. Cooper said the cases appeared to have political motivation.

“We argued from the outset that neither action was justifiable, as it was only initiated as a result of President Trump’s order to prevent the publication of the ambassador’s book before the 2020 election.” Cooper said in a statement.

“By completing these proceedings without in any way penalizing Ambassador Bolton or limiting his income from the book, the Justice Department has tacitly acknowledged that President Trump and his White House officials acted illegitimately,” he added. Cooper.

The book, published in June 2020, boasted of a series of shocking allegations, including that Trump called for Chinese aid to win the 2020 presidential election, had argued that Venezuela is part of the United States, had accidentally offered to intervene in the criminal justice system for foreign leaders, and that his own senior officials were mocking him. ‘he from behind.

Early in the Biden administration, Justice Department officials began discussing ways to end Bolton’s criminal investigation, according to people informed about the matter.

Career lawyers had long seen civil and criminal cases as politically tainted due to the involvement of top White House officials and the former president’s public statements.

Prosecutors also realized, people reported on the matter, that they probably could not use the testimony of what would have been their star witness, Michael Ellis, a former White House national security attorney who played a role in the retroactive classification of parts of Bolton’s book and who the former president tried to install as a general counsel at the National Security Agency. The Biden administration suspended the NSA appointment and became the subject of an internal Pentagon investigation before he finally resigned.
Bolton’s book – a time detrimental to Trump politically during an election year: it is one of the episodes that garnered major criticism over the politicization of the intelligence community and the Justice Department by the Trump administration.

Trump-era effort to stop the book

Former Attorney General William Barr had signed a lawsuit in the White House in order to stop the publication of Bolton’s book in an extraordinary move a few days before its release.

In keeping with his practical approach outside of his political circle, Barr sent Attorney General’s Attorney Jeffrey Rosen to discuss with the department’s attorneys how to file the lawsuit against Bolton, a person familiar with the management of the case on CNN.

Lawyers reported that an attempt to stop the publication of the book was unfortunate. But his concerns were ignored and Barr signed the lawsuit, the person said. This part of the lawsuit, which sought to stop publication, failed because the book was already in the hands of booksellers.

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled Bolton could look for evidence on the classification process around his book in case there were bad faith decisions made by the White House and the intelligence community aimed at politically protecting Trump.

This decision had placed the Justice Department in a potentially difficult position, as it had opened the door for Bolton’s legal team to interview the president’s people under oath.

A longtime government official specializing in classification had advanced last fall they complain that Trump’s White House classification was mishandled around the book, and said he believed she had been forced to stop working because of the then president’s anger toward Bolton.

Attorney Ellen Knight wondered “how it might be appropriate for an apolitical designed process to have been entrusted by designated politicians for a seemingly political purpose,” her attorneys wrote about her work reviewing Bolton’s manuscript, which went largely approved for publication before the closing of lawyers in Trump intervened, blocking the closing of the session.

Generally, if a writer who worked in the government does not get full approval before the publication of a book, the Department of Justice may sue after the fact to try to collect the writer’s earnings.

Bolton would lose millions in this case.

The Justice Department court for the lawsuit had reported that the Trump administration was also investigating him for criminal offenses.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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