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Bolton plans to move forward with book despite new White House warning that it contains classified material

Former national security adviser John Bolton. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Former national security adviser John Bolton plans to move ahead with publication of his memoir about working in the Trump White House despite a new warning from the administration that it contains classified material and needs to be further revised, his lawyer said.

The letter Wednesday from a White House lawyer arrived just two weeks before “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” is set to go on sale and as Bolton is negotiating media appearances to promote the book.

The letter said Bolton would be provided with a redacted manuscript by June 19, four days before the book is to go on sale.

In response, Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, said he has scrupulously complied with national security requirements and expects his book will be available to the public as planned on June 23.

The book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, has already shipped copies to warehouses around the country in preparation.

“Simon & Schuster is fully supportive of Ambassador Bolton’s First Amendment right to tell the story of his time in the Trump White House,” said Julia Prosser, vice president and director of publicity for the publishing house.

Bolton is considering some prime-time network media opportunities, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private negotiations.

In an interview, Cooper confirmed that he received a letter Wednesday from John A. Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel, describing need for further changes to the manuscript.

The Eisenberg letter, which was first reported by the New York Times, noted that the former national security adviser signed a nondisclosure agreement when he began his White House service.

“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information could be exploited by a foreign power, thereby causing significant harm to the national security of the United States,” Eisenberg wrote.

John Bolton plans to publish a tell-all about his time in the White House in late June

Bolton has said that he does not think his manuscript contains classified material.

Cooper said Wednesday that he had sent the White House “a lengthy response to Eisenberg’s letter.”

“As the publisher has just confirmed, the publication date is unchanged,” he said.

Simon & Schuster said in a statement Wednesday that Bolton took care to make sure the book, which was originally scheduled to be published in March, did not endanger national security.

“In the months leading up to the publication of ‘The Room Where It Happened,’ Bolton worked in cooperation with the National Security Council to incorporate changes to the text that addressed NSC concerns,” wrote Prosser, the publicity director for the publishing house. “The final, published version of this book reflects those changes.”

The 592-page book is expected to provide a caustic account of life inside the White House from the national security adviser’s perspective. It is expected to describe the president’s decision-making process, his warring advisers and some foreign policy topics, from Ukraine and Venezuela to North Korea and Iran.

Trump wants to block Bolton’s book, claiming most conversations are classified

Cooper initially submitted the manuscript to the NSC for review in December. Bolton, who served as national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, worked with the White House to vet the manuscript for national security concerns, Cooper said.

President Trump has said that Bolton should not publish his tell-all until after the election and called him a “traitor” in private. He remains angry that Bolton wants to publish the book, a White House official said.

Media outlets previously reported that an early draft of Bolton’s book said Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine as a way to pressure Ukraine’s newly elected president to launch an inquiry of Democrats, including the activities of former vice president Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden. That news broke just as the Senate was considering articles of impeachment against the president.