U.S. judge rules John Bolton can publish book despite efforts by Trump administration to block it
White House argued book by former U.S. national security adviser contained classified information
A federal judge ruled Saturday that former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed.
The decision from U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth is a victory for Bolton in a court case that involved core First Amendment and national security concerns.
The ruling means a broader election-year readership and distribution of a memoir that paints an unflattering portrait of President Donald Trump's foreign policy decision-making during the turbulent year-and-a-half that Bolton spent in the White House.
"While Bolton's unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy," Lamberth said in his ruling.
The administration had sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the publication of The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, saying it contained classified information and threatened national security.
The book, scheduled to hit store shelves on Tuesday, is already in the hands of media organizations.
"Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability," the judge wrote.
But he said an injunction would be too late to stem the harm. "With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe —many in newsrooms — the damage is done," Lamberth said.
.....who was all washed up until I brought him back and gave him a chance, broke the law by releasing Classified Information (in massive amounts). He must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him. This should never to happen again!!!—@realDonaldTrump
In a tweet shortly after the decision was released, Trump charged again that Bolton was releasing classified information. "He must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him," Trump said. "This should never to happen again!!!"
Bolton's book has drawn wide attention for its withering portrayal of Trump and how politics drove the president's foreign policy. Bolton describes Trump as imploring Chinese President Xi Jinping for help in winning his 2020 re-election bid, and he detailed alleged improprieties not addressed in Trump's impeachment trial.
Trump ousted Bolton, a foreign policy hawk, last September after 17 months as national security adviser.
With files from Reuters