Hundreds of thousands of copies of the book “The Room Where It Happened” have been printed and distributed, and are due to go on sale on Tuesday.
Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court in Washington DC has rejected a request by President Trump to stop the publication of a memoir by John Bolton, President’s former National Security Adviser,
The justice department argued that the book had not been properly vetted.
Judge Royce Lamberth said that, Mr Bolton had “gambled” with US national security and “exposed his country to harm”, but at the same time he ruled that the government had “failed to establish that an injunction would prevent irreparable harm”.
The case and the judge’s ruling:
- The justice department’s lawyers argued that Mr Bolton had breached an obligation to complete a pre-publication review of his manuscript to ensure that it contained no classified information.
- Mr Bolton’s lawyers dismissed the claim, insisting that the manuscript was thoroughly examined and that Mr Trump simply did not like the contents.
- In judge’s ruling published today, Judge Lamberth wrote: “In taking it upon himself to publish his book without securing final approval from national intelligence authorities, Bolton may indeed have caused the country irreparable harm. But 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. With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe – many in newsrooms – the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo.”
Shortly after the decision, President tweeted that Mr Bolton:
“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!!!”
Later, the president called the ruling a “BIG COURT WIN against Bolton”.
Charles Cooper, a lawyer for Mr Bolton, said in a statement that him and his client welcomed the judge’s decision to deny the injunction request.
However, he took issue with the preliminary conclusion that his client did not comply fully with his contractual pre-publication obligation to the government, saying:
“The full story of these events has yet to be told – but it will be,”
Mr Bolton’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, said:
“We are grateful that the Court has vindicated the strong First Amendment protections against censorship and prior restraint of publication.”
“The Room Where It Happened”
In the memoir Mr Bolton paints an unflattering picture of a president whose decision-making was dominated by a desire to be re-elected in November.
President Trump has said the book is “made up of lies and fake stories”.
By Alex Ammohostianos