WASHINGTON — Former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book, a federal judge ruled Saturday, despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed.
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 issues, even as the White House pledged to keep pursuing the onetime top aide. And 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.
President Donald 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!!!”
In the meantime, though, 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 Trump’s foreign policy decision-making during the turbulent year and a half that Bolton spent in the White House.
Bolton’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, applauded Lamberth for denying the government’s attempt to “suppress” the book.