A judge denied President Trump’s request to stop his former National Security Advisor John Bolton from releasing his book this coming week, saying the government did not prove the publication would irreparably damage the country’s national security.
However, the judge said Mr. Bolton could still be in legal jeopardy for allowing the publication of the book without final national security approval, which could result in Mr. Bolton losing the $2 million advance he received from the publisher.
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, said the Trump administration did not establish the need for an injunction to be issued against Mr. Bolton. The Justice Department had raised issues surrounding national security and classified information, saying Mr. Bolton was cutting corners around the government review process.
“While Bolton’s unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy,” the judge wrote in the 10-page order issued Saturday.
Leaked copies of the book, “The Room Where it Happened,” have already made headlines with claims that Mr. Trump sought help for his reelection campaign in trade deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mr. Bolton worked for the president for a little more than a year and signed several non-disclosure agreements that he would not divulge classified information which could endanger national security.
Less than two months after leaving his job, Mr. Bolton secured a book deal with Simon & Schuster. He went through months of review with an official from the National Security Council over his draft and believed it to be cleared for publication in April, but never received the written authorization.
Earlier this month, John Eisenberg, deputy White House counsel, notified Mr. Bolton there was still classified information in the memoir. However, Mr. Bolton had already delivered a draft to his publisher without written clearance from the government, according to the court papers.
“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. But these facts do not control the motion before the Court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm,” Judge Lamberth concluded.
Mr. Trump celebrated the judge’s rebuke of Mr. Bolton even though it didn’t stop the book’s release.
“BIG COURT WIN against Bolton. Obviously, with the book already given out and leaked to many people and the media, nothing the highly respected Judge could have done about stopping it…BUT, strong & powerful statements & rulings on MONEY & on BREAKING CLASSIFICATION were made,” he tweeted. “Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay. He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!”
Critics of the president say he moved to halt the book’s release because he is worried the contents could damage him ahead of November’s election.
The book is expected to be released on June 23.