Striking Language from the Trump Administration's Complaint in United States v. John Bolton

Is the Trump Administration trying to get a precedent on classified information that would benefit incumbent Presidents at the expense of voters?

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

On June 10, John Bolton's lawyer (Chuck Cooper) wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal laying out the course of dealing with the Trump Administration regarding Bolton's book The Room Where it Happened. As Cooper noted, these reviews are handled by NSC staff, and there was a four-month review of his book by the NSC's Senior Director for Records Access and Information Security Management (Ellen Knight). On April 27 she indicated that she had given Bolton all her edits, but Bolton never received a letter confirming clearance. On June 8 John Eisenberg from the White House sent Bolton a letter saying that the book still contained classified information. And today the Trump Administration filed a complaint against Bolton to prevent the publication of his book, stating that it contains classified information.

One notable aspect of the complaint is how much it agrees with the course of dealing that Cooper recounted. The government's complaint does say that the government hadn't completed its review, but it doesn't dispute that the NSC staff review was complete. Rather, it says that Michael Ellis, a Trump appointee at the NSC (who, coincidentally, has been accused of manipulating the classification system to benefit Trump) "commenced an additional review" and raised new objections. The complaint says that Ellis has access to a greater range of information than Knight did. But there is more: the key paragraph (paragraph 51) states

[Ellis] commenced this review at the request of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, who, upon review of the version of the manuscript reflecting Ms. Knight's latest guidance, was concerned that the manuscript still appeared to contain classified information, in part because the same Administration that [Bolton] served is still in office and that the manuscript described sensitive information about ongoing foreign policy issues. (Emphasis added.)

The italicized statement is notable for two reasons. The first is the term "sensitive." All sorts of information is sensitive (politically sensitive, personally sensitive, etc.), but that doesn't make it classified. There is a ton of sensitive information in every Administration, but much of it isn't classified. The second is the emphasis on the same Administration being in office. A given piece of information either is or is not classified. And if it is classified, it remains classified until it is declassified. The passage of time (usually decades) is relevant to decisions to declassify. But there is no legal significance to the fact that a piece of information was generated in the current Administration. In the next Administration, classified materials won't magically become unclassified or less classified – they will remain classified unless and until they are declassified. It is true that this Administration is currently dealing with sensitive matters that Bolton likely dealt with, but the same will be true of future Administrations (tensions with China over bases in the South China Sea won't go away on January 21, 2021). It is probably the case that, as a practical matter, some information is likely to leak over time (as it already has, of course), but the legal obligation not to reveal a given piece of classified information will remain in future Administrations. (I learned classified information when I was in the Office of Legal Counsel in the early 1990s, and I have never revealed it to anyone, as I am under a legal obligation not to do so.) Simply stated, the fact that Bolton served in the current Administration is legally irrelevant.

So why make this statement in a legal complaint? My guess is because the Trump Administration knows that the post-Knight process might be seen as an ad hoc and unprincipled way of engaging in a review that is supposed to be highly structured and principled, and they want to have some justification for adding a layer of review after the ordinary review was apparently completed. But this reasoning embodies a very expansionist approach. The argument in the complaint seems to be that even if information ordinarily wouldn't be classified, an Administration should have additional leeway to classify information during that Administration. But information created during a given Administration is always what it most wants to keep secret. It is already the case that a given Administration has a huge incentive to classify materials that it finds embarrassing but that don't contain classified information: they can at least prevent the publication of those embarrassing facts while the President is in office. That incentive is troubling enough. The argument in the complaint would add to that incentive a greater legal ability for this and future Administrations to hide their own embarrassing actions until after the Administration left office and could no longer be punished by the voters. A legal rule that says "You can't publish while the President is in office" is in the President's interest. But I don't see why it's in the national interest.

NEXT: Two Leaks from the D.C. Circuit List Serve

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  1. “…On John 10, John Bolton’s lawyer (Chuck Cooper) wrote…”

    I’m assuming a typo, and you mean either June or July.

    Or you’re quoting from the Book of John, which Trump understands fully as well as he did Two Corinthians. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the catch! I just fixed it.

  2. Bolton has already stated he didn’t believe Trump’s abuse of power rose to an impeachable level…so I am not sure why Trump is making such a big deal about this?!? Of course with respect to Bolton’s opinion on what amounts to an impeachable offense I have seen several reports that the Bush administration wanted to torture detained terrorists to elicit false confessions so I am not sure Bolton is a beacon of ethical behavior in government. 😉

    1. There’s been this weird false narrative in conservative media over the past few days, along the lines of, “I [the conservative pundit] can’t believe that Bolton has been elevated to hero status by the left.”

      Utter bullshit. I, of course, can’t speak for liberals in general. But not a single liberal that I know thinks of Bolton with anything but contempt, for his misguided foreign policy work under two administrations. The fact that Bolton’s book might paint Trump in an accurate negative light does not mean that he’s a hero to me, or anything remotely close to that. He was a craven, scummy, cowardly worm during Trump’s impeachment, when he made a conscious decision to keep vital information from the Senate and from the American people. In my eyes, he’ll always be a worthless sack of sh*t, albeit one who now will say mean things about Trump.

      Weak tea. Miles too little, and miles too late.

      1. All you need to know is that Liz Cheney holds a leadership position among House Republicans…Trump is not the problem.

        1. Trump isn’t the only problem, but he is a major problem.

      2. Bolton is one of a generation of career war mongers who got out of having to fight in the Vietnam War. “I had no desire to die in a rice paddy.”

        1. It’s easy for you to mock chickenhawks and bone spurs . . . actually, it’s easy for any decent person to mock them.

      3. sm811,
        Your criticism of Bolton is understated.

  3. We all know this lawyer’s legal strategy was concocted to put into effect one of Trump’s juvenile tantrums. To posit that it might be an attempt to set a precedent to protect future administrations is to take it far too seriously.

  4. I learned classified information when I was in the Office of Legal Counsel in the early 1990s, and I have never revealed it to anyone, as I am under a legal obligation not to do so.

    Asking for a friend: “When I got a security clearance, I was told that I could not even divulge that I had a security clearance.”

    Is this true?

    1. Yes. . . and no.

      For a straight up security clearance like Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret (i.e. a collateral clearance in official, technical terms), you can post those on resumes, upload to LinkedIn, etc.

      I wouldn’t go around yelling in a bar that I have a clearance but that’s mainly for OPSEC reasons (i.e. strangers just don’t need to know).

      However, there are certain accesses (e.g. SCI, SAP, etc.), which may not be publicly released.

      Polygraphs (e.g. Life Style, Counterintelligence, Fully Scope) can also be placed on a resume.

      So a person who has a Top Secret clearance with SCI access, and has passed a CI poly can put on the resume, “I hold a Top Secret clearance (date of previous investigation), and certain special accesses. Counterintelligence polygraph (date).”

      Again people shouldn’t go around announcing their clearance to strangers.

      1. Thanks. Makes sense. I;ll be sure to tell my friend 🙂

  5. Can’t wait to see what all the 1A champions here have to say about Trump’s efforts to suppress Bolton’s book.

    Not as terrible as some college kid yelling at a speaker, of course, but still.

    1. I’m not surprised. Bolton was a National Security Advisor for the current Administration, and it’s unusual for such a high ranking advisor to put out a book about the administration he or she worked in, while that administration is still in office. There’s all sorts of confidential and sensitive information that could be in there.

      I’m quite a bit more concerned over NBC and Google’s attempt to “demonitize” the Federalist. There’s a host of major issues and problems with this.

      1. Re: Demonetization of websites.

        So, you need to understand why this is such a large concern.

        1. Google plays a massive role in the online ad arena. It is effectively a monopoly in many respects.
        2. Monetization is how websites stay afloat. Unless they’re run for free by a big sugar daddy, they need money to keep running. Ads are what generally provide that money.
        3. By “demonetization” Google can effectively cut of the stream of advertising cash. Keep in mind, these aren’t Google’s ads…they are other companies ads. Google just provides the means.
        4. Google is doing it based on “hateful” content. In this particular case, it was “hateful” content in the comments section. Not by the primary posts.

        Think about this. A liberal could post anonymously in the contents section, something hateful. Then run to Google saying “They’ve got hateful comment. Shut off their cash flow”. And Google says “Yep, done.”

        1. Can you point to any instance of that happening?

          1. Just happened to ZeroHedge

        2. Google is not effectively a monopoly, and of course the Federalist (say — who funds them, anyway?) could sell ads directly, the way publications have done for centuries. It’s just easier for them to outsource their ad department to Google.

      2. It’s concerning but not surprising. I’ve been expecting the media platforms to go full censorship for this election for a couple tears at least. They’re not getting less biased, and it’s really the only avenue left for them to escalate their war against the right and Trump. Now that they’re 100% anti-Trump themselves, they’re moving on to shutting down any platforms that don’t get with the program.

        Want to bet that, when the campaign starts in earnest, they refuse to carry Trump’s ads?

        1. I think breaking up some of the monopolies is something that needs to happen, given their actions.

          1. The government is too divided to act decisively, and the judiciary would block it. We have to get through this election despite their doing their worst. Then just hope their worst wasn’t enough.

            The time to have done something was 2017, not now. Too late.

              1. They can’t help themselves.

                They spread disinformation for the same reason a dog licks itself.

              2. Bernard, where did we lie?

                Q: Did NBC work with Google to attempt to demonetize websites?
                A: Yes.

                Q: Where the Websites all conservative in nature?
                A: Well, here’s the list. You can see for yourself.

                1. American Greatness
                2. Moonbattery
                3. American Thinker
                4. Big League Politics
                5. Zero Hedge
                6. WND
                7. The Washington Standard
                8. Gateway Pundit
                9. Breitbart
                10. The Federalist

                1. NBC got some information and checked it with Google. They then misreported what they learned from Google. They didn’t “work with Google.”

                  And Google didn’t demonetize the site.

                  Can you and Brett please get that through your skulls?

                2. Q: Did NBC work with Google to attempt to demonetize websites?
                  A: Yes.

                  No. One chick from the UK who apparently works for NBC did this (or tried to).

                  Also, I am not sure why you are insulting conservatives by describing those websites that way. It would be one thing if a liberal took a collection of inbred racist morons and tried to equate those with conservatism, but an intelligent person who is conservative would be saying, “No, none of those websites represent conservatism.” Kind of like how Buckley read the JBS out of the conservative movement.

        2. Funny thing is, I just went to the Federalist site, and saw ads.

          Want to bet that, when the campaign starts in earnest, they refuse to carry Trump’s ads?

          Yeah. I do.

          1. The attempt failed. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t tried.

            1. Doesn’t mean it was tried either.

              1. Well, if Google says it was tried, and the Federalist says it was tried, and a whole bunch of media organizations say it was tried…

                Then…. It was tried.

                1. But Google did not say it was tried.
                  https://twitter.com/Google_Comms/status/1272997425821540352?

                  The Federalist was never demonetized.

                  We worked with them to address issues on their site related to the comments section.

                  Our policies do not allow ads to run against dangerous or derogatory content, which includes comments on sites, and we offer guidance and best practices to publishers on how to comply.

                  1. Sounds like it was tried from what you wrote.

                    1. You don’t know what tried means, then. A shocking failure of English comprehension.

                      Google didn’t intend demonetizing The Federalist. They took steps to avoid that happening, even though under their rules The Federalist should have been demonetized.

                      Are these rules smart? I think they are not, nor are they enforced well. But they are not enforced in a partisan fashion.

                2. A whole bunch of liars said something. BFD.

      3. The book has gone through a thorough vetting by the National Security Council, standard in these cases:

        these reviews are handled by NSC staff, and there was a four-month review of his book by the NSC’s Senior Director for Records Access and Information Security Management (Ellen Knight).

        Trump’s lawsuit is a transparent effort to block Not at all surprised that you and Brett are taking Trump’s side. Just spare me your 1A concerns over the Federalist.

        1. You don’t think shutting down one side of the political spectrum’s access to supporting its journalism is a problem?

          1. Maybe stick to the OP’s issue.

            Your demands everyone take a position on a different issue you’d prefer to talk about makes it look like you think Trump’s wrong but would prefer not to think about it.

            1. You mean freedom of speech?

              I will stick to it. And am presenting what is a very serious potential violation.

              1. This is not the thread for it.

                But we all get why you’re so fired up to talk about this other thing. Coward.

                1. This other non-thing, as a matter of fact.

          2. WTF. First it didn’t happen as you claim. Get over it.

            Second, there is plenty of right-wing journaism – WSJ, Fox, NR, etc, etc.

            Third, it has zippo to do with Bolton’s book, which you conspicuously avoid. Look! A squirrel!

      4. You are a fine and fitting example of a “Volokh Conspiracy First Amendment Champion,” Armchair Lawyer . . . ranting about vague expression-related outrages perpetrated by the mainstream while silently and obediently licking Trump’s scrotum.

        1. See, comments like the Rev’s here could be used to shut down (demonetize) Reason. I’m sure Rev would love that.

    2. bernard11, does the fact that Mr. Bolton signed a non-disclosure agreement mean anything at all? Because if we are going to say, “Nah” then I can see some highly impactful implications that come out of that position wrt American business, which routinely requires employees to sign non-disclosure agreements.

      I did not think it was right when Gates, Panetta and others wrote ‘tell all’ books about POTUS Obama. It was unseemly and egregiously wrong then, and it is just as wrong now. Contracts mean something. When you sign a contract, you are obligated to abide by the terms. That is what I was taught.

      No one forced Mr. Bolton to sign the NDA. He did so voluntarily. What he is doing is wrong.

      1. Depends on what NDA you’re talking about.

        When you get a security clearance, you sign a NDA (e.g. Standard Form 312), which is legally enforceable.

        I understand the Trump made his folks sign a NDA to work for him, but I don’t know how enforceable that is (i.e. I don’t which law covers this type of NDA).

      2. I did not think it was right when Gates, Panetta and others wrote ‘tell all’ books about POTUS Obama. It was unseemly and egregiously wrong then, and it is just as wrong now.

        “Unseemly” does not mean “illegal.” I don’t know the details of the NDA, but I don’t know how Trump can demand an NDA from a government employee beyond what the government demands.

        Anyway, presumably he can seek damages if he thinks Bolton has violated some sort of contract.

        1. Bernard,
          I think that you have it correct. Trump might have asked for an NDA as a personal contract in addition too the standard clearance forms.
          If Bolton violated this personal NDA, then Trump can sue him for damages.

          1. Well, assuming it’s a valid NDA.

            Can Trump really enforce a personal NDA he asked Bolton to sign as a condition of getting a government job?

            IANAL but that sounds seriously shaky to me.

            1. He can sue and find out.

              1. You mean Trump? True.

                Though I think it should be Trump who sues, and pays the legal bills, rather than DOJ, where the taxpayers pick up the tab.

                I guess neither Trump nor Barr see the distinction.

      3. Commenter, I do not believe an NDA is factoring into this lawsuit; it’s purely about classified material. Though I could be wrong about the specifics of the complaint.

        The thing is, this book went through the standard process for publications of this type. Months of back-and-forth negotiations.

        Now a new Trump appointee is re-vetting it, and saying they found all sorts of stuff the previous process missed.

        Meanwhile, Trump says its all lies. Classified lies.

        1. The DOJ isn’t suing to enfore a private NDA.

          Well, at least not yet. Give Barr another few months.

        2. “Now a new Trump appointee is re-vetting it, and saying they found all sorts of stuff the previous process missed.”

          Confessing that the previous process was incompetently run, or that it was done correctly and there really isn’t any classified material in the book?

        3. “Meanwhile, Trump says its all lies. Classified lies.”

          Trump’s first person singular experience with lying is so prodigious that it might be argued that if anyone can speak authoritatively on the subject of lying, it is surely the Dotard himself. On the other hand, given his life-long history, it might be argued that the Dotard cannot be trusted to speak truthfully on any subject, including lying. This is a Trump-related logical conundrum that stumps me along with several others, e.g., when to explain him by sociopathy, and when stupidity and incuriosity must be allowed to understand him fully.

    3. “Not as terrible as some college kid yelling at a speaker, of course”

      Its a legal proceeding, not a Red Guard effort. Bolton has good legal representation. Its less dangerous than threats of violence delivered in person by mobs against individuals.

      1. “Red Guard.”

        What a fucking joke.

        It’s the President of the United States trying to prevent publication of a book because it portrays him in a bad light. That’s what it is. An absolutely clear-cut 1A violation, but you don’t give a shit because it’s Trump.

        You can think it’s OK, but then don’t join the usual crowd of pearl-clutchers whenever Eugene posts about something some college kids said.

        1. Yes, a Red Guard intimidating people because those the victims dare to disagree.

          Either Trump has the law on his side or he doesn’t. A court will decide.

          The mob you support only has violence and the threat of violence on its. You like the mob becuase you agree with them.

          1. Thing is, this isn’t Trump bringing the complaint. It’s the DoJ

            Telling that you now equate them.

            Not that you care about such issues. Will to power and all.

            1. “Telling that you now equate them.”

              Trump is president. DOJ is an executive agency which answers to him, its authority flows from him.

              DOJ is a mere extension of the president, any president.

              Besides, no doubt Trump wants this suit, why pretend otherwise.

            2. “Thing is, this isn’t Trump bringing the complaint. It’s the DoJ”

              It’s almost like the AG is a spineless toady who does as he is told, with or without any legal justification.

              1. “It’s almost like the AG is a spineless toady who does as he is told, with or without any legal justification.”

                Hard to imagine.

              2. “It’s almost like the AG is a spineless toady who does as he is told, with or without any legal justification.”

                Sure hard to imagine.

  6. If this was a tell-all book about President Clinton in the alternative universe, the author would just end up dead. So I guess we have that difference here….

    1. Yes, the alternate universe where you aren’t insane.

      Fun to imagine, eh?

      1. We should start a betting pool on who is the first to post QAnon here.

        Well, first after Ed inevitably does.

    2. “If this was a tell-all book about President Clinton in the alternative universe, the author would just end up dead.”

      Like all the Fox News personalities who (coincidentally) ALSO liked to circulate some truly deranged conspiracy theories involving the Clintons. Such a shame they were all silenced permanently.

  7. The weird thing is not the tactics; anyone with a vague familiarity with Donald Trump from the 80s on was on notice that he employed abusive litigation tactics against people. The merits of the litigation didn’t matter; it was always just a means to an end (after all, litigation is expensive, draining, and consumes time even if there is no merit to the claim, so the litigation is often the point).

    It is hardly shocking that he is employing the same tactics now; the only surprise is that he has finally gotten an AG that completely enables him.

    The only goal here is to try and delay past the election.

    1. the thing is, eventually, there will be a President who is not Trump, and a fairly good possibility that whenever that unknown future President arrives, that person might even be a Democrat who appoints an AG who is VERY interested in probing just how corrupt the Trump administration was. I’d rate the odds of a pardon to fairly low.

    2. When Trump sued WSJ reporter Timothy L. O’Brien because O’Brien wrote a book saying that Trump was only worth about 10% as much as he claimed — spoiler alert: he lost — he ultimately admitted that he knew he couldn’t win but just wanted to make O’Brien suffer.

  8. I don’t think this lawsuit is expected to prevail. More likely it is all about harassing Bolton and forcing him to spend his profits from the book. The DoJ is just acting as Trump’s personal lawyer.

    Likely this action will cause greater interest and sales of the book than it otherwise would have had. The so-called Streisand effect. But I doubt that would matter to Trump.

    Now all this scene needs is Guiliani in it.

    1. It may just be a delaying tactic to push publication to after the election.

    2. “Now all this scene needs is Guiliani in it.”

      Is he still in Kiev trying to stir up trouble there?

    3. Will Bolton bear the litigation expenses or will they be the publisher’s to bear? When Deborah Lipstadt was sued in the UK by that Nazi-sympathizer David Irving, her publisher bore the expense.

  9. Why make this statement in a legal complaint? The reason should be obvious. It is to Mr. Trump’s advantage to do so. Why not.

    “Should be highly structured and principalled” – if the swamp hasn’t been drained enough and are still any such people left in the bureaucracy, please let the administration know, I’m sure they’d love to fire them.

    “Future presidents.” And why should a great leader whose country exists to serve him care about that? As Louis XIV (the awesome palace guy) put it, “Apres moi, le deluge.”

    1. That was Regina Spektor, not Louis XIV:

      https://youtu.be/_gdBvdN0Auc

      1. Realizing that anything that happened pre-internet is very unlikely to come up first in a Google search and hence may simply not count, he did say if first.

        https://books.google.com/books?id=x-FNTmUwfpEC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=battle+of+rossbach+apres+moi+le+deluge#v=onepage&q&f=false

  10. I simply don’t understand a post like this. You are dealing with people who are openly firing inspector-generals left and right and who are more or less openly structuring tax breaks and stimulus packages to send cash to their companies and friends.

    Why would you expect principalled behavior of such people? This kind of post just seems completely disingenuous. You’re not that naive, are you?

    There was a time when rural kids going to college were horribly shocked by discovering that people smoked pot and had sex before marriage. These posts seems to have exactly that tone – expecting people to follow a moral code that has become completely irrelevant to their actual lives.

    Are you really shocked, shocked that there is gambling going on in this casino? How can you pretend to be shocked to find that a man who has all his life hired arguements based on their capacity for sleaze and skill at using legal processes as muscle tactics – consistently, his entire life – is simply doing exactly the same thing here?

    1. Sorry, a man who has all his life hired lawyers.

      1. My position : We should come together – Right & Left – boycotting all partisan bickering until management caves to our demands and gives us an Edit function. Cranky political commentators of the world unite !!!

        1. Simply refuse to take part until they give you an edit function. I’m sure they’re trembling at the thought of losing us.

  11. Benjamin writes
    “A given piece of information either is or is not classified. ”
    The Op’s line is over-simplified
    That does not mean that all unclassified information can be disclosed arbitrarily. One needs to consider the context of the release and whether that totality is protected from unlimited public release.
    This logic is the reason that Restricted Data is NOT classified by paragraph.
    Moreover some unclassified but sensitive information is prohibited by Federal regulation from being released publicly.

    1. “’A given piece of information either is or is not classified. ‘
      The Op’s line is over-simplified”

      Indeed it is, since things can be classified, and declassified, at whim. Which is why Mr. Trump did not find himself prosecuted for disclosing classified intelligence with the Russkies when he felt like showing off. Instead, we got the retcon version where he reviewed the intelligence, and decided to declassify it moments before revealing it to a foreign power.

  12. President Trump would like to have a law that lets him silence anyone who is critical of him and his lack of aptitude for the job he currently holds. He hasn’t got one of those. So claiming classified information is all he has to silence this person who seems likely to offer informed testimony of Trump’s incompetence in action if he is allowed to speak.

  13. I am not following this closely enough to have much of a view, but I do have questions about a couple of claims. First, one of the two main bases for classifying information is that its revelation would be harmful to US foreign relations. See e.g. 18 CFR 3a. 11, https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/18/3a.11. So it does not strike me as necessarily unusual or pushing the envelope that the National Security Adviser might be legitimately concerned that an earlier review for classified information missed “sensitive information about ongoing foreign policy issues,” because earlier reviewers was unaware of the ramifications for foreign relations of disclosing that information. Second, “sensitive” is a pretty standard term to use in this context. See Wikipedia’s article on classified information, which describes such information as “sensitive.” So again this doesn’t strike me as particularly envelope-pushing. Additionally, contrary to the suggestion that classified information is classified for all time, there is a presumption that the passage of time makes it less important for it to remain classified, so that after 25 years for example most previously classified information is supposed to be declassified. Finally, and this is the point I am least sure about, I don’t know what the law is about this, but it does not strike me as crazy that it would impair the conduct of foreign relations by the current President and his administration more to disclose information regarding that President’s conduct of foreign affairs than it would to disclose it after the President had left office. That is not to say that there is no national interest in protecting this kind of information once the President has left office – there absolutely is. But in terms of degree of harm it seems like a fairly obvious consideration, so I wonder if it is really as novel as Stuart says.

    Again, I emphasize I have no view on what is in fact going on here. For one thing I have not been following the matter closely enough.
    For another, even if I were, I would be hard pressed to judge whether the effort to block publication in order to conduct this further review is legitimate or pretextual without knowing all kinds of things about the information at issue and the broader context that an outsider to this dispute could not know. So my only point is to challenge Stuart’s arguments that the government’s brief is taking novel or adventurous or envelope-pushing positions about what constitutes classified information. Rather they strike me as if they have likely been made in many other Department of Justice briefs filed by Civil Divisions across many Administrations. The effort to block publication may well ultimately be a loser – but I doubt if it will be for these reasons.

    1. Further on the point that the phrase “sensitive information” is a standard usage and not at all envelope-pushing in the context of discussions of classified information, as quoted from Judge Lamberth’s description of the facts in his opinion rejecting the request for an injunction (by Eugene Volokh in a recent post summarizing the decision):

      “The government insists that the book contains sensitive information that could compromise national security….” https://reason.com/2020/06/20/judge-royce-lamberth-condemns-john-boltons-conduct-but-declines-to-block-publication-of-boltons-memoir/

  14. I predict that after the November election which President Trump currently looks to lose, you will see a flood of books on Trump from those who now work or have worked in the White House. President Trump doesn’t build loyalty he demands it. When he can no longer demand loyalty it will no longer exist. John Bolton is the current example, many others will follow. I also very much doubt President Biden’s DOJ will do much to contain the flood of books.

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