A federal judge on Saturday denied the Trump administration’s request to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir.
“While Bolton’s unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy,” Royce Lamberth, district judge for the District of Columbia, said in a memorandum order.
The order came days before the release of Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” on Tuesday, which, according to Lamberth, “has been printed, bound, and shipped across the country.”
“In the Internet age, even a handful of copies in circulation could irrevocably destroy confidentiality. A single dedicated individual with a book in hand could publish its contents far and wide from his local coffee shop,” the judge wrote. “With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe — many in newsrooms — the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo.”
Charles Cooper, Bolton’s attorney, said in a statement that they hailed the decision.
“We welcome today’s decision by the Court denying the Government’s attempt to suppress Ambassador Bolton’s book,” Cooper said. “The case will now proceed to development of the full record on that issue. The full story of these events has yet to be told — but it will be.”
The Department of Justice filed an emergency order earlier this week, seeking to prevent Bolton’s book from becoming public.
The manuscript “still contains classified information, as confirmed by some of the Government’s most senior national-security and intelligence officials,” read a memo by the Department of Justice supporting the argument.
“Disclosure of the manuscript will damage the national security of the United States,” it continued.
A foreign policy hawk who served as President Donald Trump’s third national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, Bolton was ousted over disagreements with the White House on a range of issues.
Speaking to reporters Saturday afternoon at the White House before leaving for a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump said “we had a very good decision” in the Bolton book case.
“I think the judge was very smart and very indignant at what Bolton did. I think it was a great ruling,” Trump said. “Obviously, the book was already out; it leaked and everything else. But he leaked classified information, so he’s got a big problem.”
In a separate statement, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the government “intends to hold Bolton to the further requirements of his agreements and to ensure that he receives no profits” from his book.