Many officials have come and gone from the Trump administration the past few years. But none have arguably left with more anger and frustration than former national security adviser John Bolton.
Bolton has been at battle with the Trump administration for months over a tell-all book he wrote about his time in the White House.
On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth rejected requests from the Department of Justice for an injunction and temporary restraining order intended to prevent Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” from being released on Tuesday.
Lamberth wrote in his order that, “the government failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm” by Bolton’s claims.
The Trump administration attempted to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed.
Lamberth also slammed Bolton for gambling “with the national security of the United States.”
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. But the judge also made clear his concerns that Bolton had “gambled with the national security of the United States” by taking it upon himself to publish his memoir without formal clearance from a White House that says it was still reviewing it for classified information.
“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,” Lamberth wrote. “But these facts do not control the motion before the Court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm.”
From a practical perspective, the ruling clears the path for a broader election-year readership and distribution of a memoir, due out Tuesday, 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.
A federal judge ruled that former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book. The Trump administration had tried to block the release. https://t.co/L0gPRR9TIH
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 20, 2020
While the ruling was in favor of Bolton, the outcome may not actually mean much.
Several parts of the book have already been “leaked” to the media in an obvious attempt to smear Trump, so there’s likely nothing left in that would surprise anyone.
The president took to Twitter after the ruling and said there will be a “price to pay” for Bolton running to a publisher to get revenge after being fired.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020
Bolton was reportedly fired last September after several well-publicized disagreements he had with the president over foreign policy decisions.
Bolton clashed with Trump’s non-hawkish policies that typically seek to use economic — instead of military — pressure to achieve outcomes beneficial to U.S. interests.
One of the biggest sticking points between the two men came when they publicly seemingly disagreed on the handling North Korea.