On June 1, 2020, a federal appeals court upheld key aspects of a gag order issued by President Donald Trump to prevent his former national security advisor, John Bolton, from releasing classified information in his forthcoming book about the Trump administration. The court ruled that executive privilege shields the president from revealing or publicly discussing confidential internal communications.
The court also said the president can impose disciplinary consequences on individuals like Bolton who abuse their access to sensitive information. In Bolton’s case, he was banned from government service for life by Trump. The court ruled that this punishment was not too severe and was therefore justified.
Finally, the court also held that Trump could use the “prior restraint” power of the executive branch to prevent the publication of Bolton’s book. The court said that in certain cases prior restraint can be used to protect national security interests, as long as the president complies with other constitutional requirements.