A federal US judge ruled on Saturday that former National Security Adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book, The Associated Press reported.
Earlier this week, the Justice Department sued to bar the book’s publication, claiming it contains classified information and that Bolton violated a non-disclosure agreement by writing the book.
The decision from US District Judge Royce Lamberth is a victory for Bolton in a court case that involved core First Amendment and national security issues, even as the White House pledged to keep pursuing the onetime top aide. The judge also made clear his concerns that Bolton had taken 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."
The White House signaled the legal fight would continue, saying it would try to prevent Bolton from profiting off the book.
Bolton, who served for 17 months as President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor before he was fired last September, penned a 592-page book after his firing, slated to be released on June 23.
In the book, Bolton takes frequent jabs at the president, calling him “erratic” and “foolish” and claimed he behaved “irrationally” and “bizarrely”. “You can’t leave him alone for a minute.”
In one excerpt of the book released on Wednesday, Bolton claims that Trump “pleaded” with China’s Xi Jinping during a 2019 summit to help his reelection prospects.
In sections of the book released Wednesday and published by CNN, Bolton further claimed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu felt serious concerns regarding Trump’s selection of his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner to head up a team charged with drafting the administration’s Middle East peace plan. The claims were rejected by Netanyahu on Thursday.
Last week, Trump blasted Bolton as a “sick puppy” in a series of tweets.
Later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Bolton as “a traitor who damaged America”.
“It is both sad and dangerous that John Bolton’s final public role is that of a traitor who damaged America by violating his sacred trust with its people,” said Pompeo in a statement.