The Justice Department under Trump had sought to block former National Security Adviser John Bolton's scathing tell-all from being published last year

By Sean Neumann
June 17, 2021 12:37 PM
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John Bolton
John Bolton
| Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The Justice Department is dropping a lawsuit filed during the Trump administration against former National Security Adviser John Bolton, the DOJ wrote in a court filing Wednesday obtained by PEOPLE.

The lawsuit - filed during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency - had originally sought to block Bolton from publishing the tell-all book about his tumultuous tenure at the White House under Trump, 75.

A spokesperson for Bolton, 72, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. His attorney, Charles Cooper, told The New York Times he believed the DOJ's lawsuit was a "politically motivated order."

A spokesperson for the DOJ, now operating under President Joe Biden's administration, would not comment on its decision when reached by PEOPLE.

Despite the DOJ's efforts last summer to say that Bolton broke a nondisclosure agreement by writing the book, the former Trump official released his scathing tell-all memoir, The Room Where It Happened, in June last year.

The book painted a scathing image of Trump's interactions with his foreign counterparts and was released during the final months of the former president's failed re-election bid.

John Bolton Donald Trump
From left: former President Donald Trump and former National Security Advisor John Bolton
| Credit: Alex Wong/Getty

Bolton's book gave an unfavorable, first-hand account of Trump's private meetings with several foreign leaders, including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn't driven by reelection calculations," Bolton writes in the book, which provided the former national security adviser's account of several instances in which Trump pressured foreign leaders, including Jinping, to help his odds of winning the 2020 election.

Trump complained on Twitter that he thought Bolton was a "wacko" who "turned out to be grossly incompetent, and a liar." Bolton served 18 months as Trump's national security adviser.

John Bolton Donald Trump
President Donald Trump and former National Security Advisor John Bolton together at a NATO summit in Brussels on July 12, 2018.
| Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty

Several Trump aides also downplayed Bolton's account around the time of the book's release, as the White House sought to block the book's publication legally while claiming Bolton was publishing sensitive security information. 

However, Bolton, his attorney, and his publisher all said the former security adviser worked extensively with officials from the National Security Council to make sure no sensitive information was published.

A federal judge had ruled against the DOJ's lawsuit at the time, clearing the way for Bolton's book to be published as scheduled. The tell-all had already become Amazon's top seller ahead of its release.

Critics alleged the attempt to block the book's release was one of several instances in which Trump tried to use the DOJ to his personal or political advantage.

During the 2020 election, Biden alleged the Trump administration had been "the most corrupt administration in modern American history" and that the former president attempted to turn the DOJ into his own "private law firm."