A federal judge ruled on Saturday that former National Security Advisor John Bolton can publish his tell-all book about his time in the Trump administration, thwarting the president’s attempt to have the publication blocked.
As The Associated Press reported, Trump’s Justice Department had sued to prevent the publication of Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened. Early snippets of the book promise that it will be full of damaging allegations about the administration. Specifically, according to a companion Associated Press report, the administration claimed that the book contained classified information.
Trump himself told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that publishing the book would be nothing short of criminal.
“He broke the law. Very simple… It’s highly classified information and he did not have approval,” Trump said.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth noted that the government “has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm.” Further, Lamberth noted that 200,000 copies of the book have already been distributed across the country, meaning that any attempt to stifle its publication now would be “futile,” noting that one individual in a coffee shop with a copy of the book could publish it himself.
“With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe — many in newsrooms — the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo,” he wrote.
Lamberth did, however, scold Bolton for “[gambling] 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.
In response to the ruling, Trump tweeted that 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!!!”
Bolton, for his part, has continued to insist, through his attorneys, that he worked “painstakingly” with the White House for months, working with an unidentified White House official who went though the book “line by line” looking for issues that could compromise national security. That official supposedly did not find anything potentially compromising.
However, another unidentified White House official reportedly did find classified information in the book.
Bolton’s attorney said that claims that the book contains classified information is merely an attempt to censor him and prevent him from publishing his unflattering portrayal of the president.
Among the allegations in the book are that the president “saw conspiracies behind rocks,” and that he was “stunningly uninformed” on how to run the White House or the federal government.