(New York, NY) – Responding to news that the Trump Justice Department is asking for additional details about the anonymous author of a forthcoming book about the White House, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

“While we’ve gotten used to seeing President Trump’s private attorneys send letters aimed to intimidate authors and book publishers, for the Justice Department to stoop to such tactics represents a new low. The administration doesn’t know who wrote the book nor what it says. Its claim that a non-disclosure agreement may have been violated is pure speculation.

“Instead, this letter is part of the Trump administration’s ongoing campaign to turn the tables on those who expose and call out its wrongdoing. If it turns out upon publication that the author has violated a legal obligation, the Justice Department can pursue remedies at that point. To try to deter publication or bully the author and publisher are an effort at censorship through the heavy hand of government. Hachette is right to deny this spurious request.”

PEN America has repeatedly stood against the Trump administration in its attempt to silence writers and reporters, most notably in a lawsuit filed last year.

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892