WASHINGTON — The Trump administration sued former national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday to stop the publication of a book that the White House says contains classified information.

John Bolton

Former national security adviser John Bolton Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

The civil lawsuit in Washington’s federal court follows warnings from President Trump that Bolton could face a “criminal problem” if he doesn’t halt plans to publish the book, which is scheduled for release next week. The administration contends that the former adviser did not complete a pre-publication review to ensure that the manuscript did not contain classified material.

The Justice Department is requesting that a federal court order Bolton to “instruct or request” that his publisher further delay publication of the book to allow for a completion of the national security review process and to “retrieve and dispose” of existing copies in a manner acceptable to the government.

The Justice Department also is asking a federal court to grant it the rights to all proceeds Bolton earns from the publication of the book.

In its lawsuit, the Justice Department argues that Bolton’s job meant he “regularly came into possession of some of the most sensitive classified information that exists in the U.S. government.” Officials said Bolton’s manuscript was more than 500 pages and was “rife with classified information, which he proposed to release to the world.”

The book contained “significant quantities of classified information that it asked Defendant to remove,” the filing says.

Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” was supposed to be released in March. Its release date was twice delayed and it is now set to be released next week by publisher Simon & Schuster.

“Bolton covers an array of topics — chaos in the White House, sure, but also assessments of major players, the president’s inconsistent, scattershot decision-making process, and his dealings with allies and enemies alike, from China, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Iran, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany,” according to the publisher.

“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, according to a news release from the publisher.

Bolton’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, has said Bolton worked for months with classification specialists to avoid releasing classified material. He has accused the White House of using national security information as a pretext to censor Bolton.

Cooper did not immediately return an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Zeke Miller and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

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