“The problem of Trump’s incessantly indicating he wants to use law enforcement to hurt his enemies is it means invariably that any move the D.O.J. takes related to his political enemies looks like retaliation, whether it is or not,” Mr. Goldsmith said, adding, “Especially in light of the pointlessness of the request for an injunction, it’s natural to view it as just the department carrying Trump’s water.”…
“The underlying contract claims aren’t crazy. There are plausible legal arguments that Bolton breached the standard forms that he signed,” said Ben Berwick, who worked in the Civil Division and is now a lawyer at Protect Democracy, an advocacy group that has frequently accused the Trump administration of overreach.
But Mr. Berwick said the request for an order telling Mr. Bolton to stop publication, filed well after the government could plausibly stop distribution of the book, “undermines the government’s claims.” While the original breach of contract suit might be valid, the escalation looked like an “abuse of power” that could poison the original claim, he added.
“Once again what you’re seeing here is the administration — at the president’s urging, directly or indirectly — using their enormous law enforcement power to go after someone who the president doesn’t like and who is a critic,” Mr. Berwick said.