'Arbitrary and unfair': Esper sues over Pentagon request for him to redact Trump details from his book

'Arbitrary and unfair': Esper sues over Pentagon request for him to redact Trump details from his book
John G. Martinez / Wikimedia Commons

The American people deserve an "unvarnished" view of former President Donald Trump's time in office, according to former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. On Monday, November 29, the former Department of Defense official spoke with CNN after filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Pentagon.

Esper's lawsuit is a result of the Defense Department's refusal to allow clearance for his book manuscript to be published. Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper, Esper weighed in on the importance of the American people receiving transparency on Trump's "tumultuous" presidency.

"My view is that the American people deserve a full and unvarnished history of the last presidency, the Trump administration," Esper told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" in his first interview since suing the Defense Department. "And what I aimed to do was to provide important insights and anecdotes and color to what was arguably one of the most tumultuous second halves of an administration in history."

Esper's concern stems from the department's request for him to remove certain parts of his book that detail his time working with the former president. According to Esper's lawsuit, he's been asked to make redactions to the manuscript. However, Esper argues that "the requested redactions covered quotes from Trump and others, conversations he had with Trump, and his views related to foreign countries."

During the interview, Esper shared his reaction to the requested redactions describing them as "arbitrary and unfair," CNN reports. He also informed Tapper that he "submitted what (he) believed at the time and still believes is an unclassified manuscript."

"So I don't know what the reason is, but again it's arbitrary. It's capricious. And it just does injustice to this important part of America's history that the people need to know about and need to understand in-depth," he said. "So that's why I'm committed to getting to the end of this and making sure that we publish the manuscript in full so that the American people know the full story of what happened -- the good and the bad -- during those last couple of years of the Trump administration."

The book titled, "A Sacred Oath," has received a tentative release date for May of 2022.


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