A federal judge has ruled that John Bolton may proceed in releasing his book about his time in Donald Trump’s administration, but warned the former national security advisor’s conduct “raises grave national security concerns.”
“For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir,” DC District Judge Royce Lamberth wrote in his ruling. He warned, however, that “without securing final approval from nationals intelligence authorities,” Bolton may have caused “irreparable harm” to the country.
Bolton is still facing a civil case over possibly violating his non-disclosure agreement with the book, which is set to be released on June 23. The President has claimed his former administration official has classified information in his book he is not allowed to share and he should “pay a big price” for publishing that content.
Lamberth says if it is confirmed that classified information is indeed in the pages of the book then Bolton could risk losing profits from the work and open himself up to potential criminal prosecution.
Bolton’s lawyer nonetheless hailed the ruling as a victory, though pushed back against accusations that the author “did not comply fully with his contractual prepublication obligation to the Government.”
The president also celebrated the ruling in Saturday tweets and called it a “BIG COURT WIN” despite the book being allowed to proceed. He promised Bolton will have “bombs dropped on him” for his conduct.
BIG COURT WIN against Bolton. Obviously, with the book already given out and leaked to many people and the media, nothing the highly respected Judge could have done about stopping it…BUT, strong & powerful statements & rulings on MONEY & on BREAKING CLASSIFICATION were made….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2020
Though it has yet to reach bookshelves, details of Bolton’s book have already caused waves. Among leaked claims from the material, the former national security advisor claims the president tried to interfere in multiple Justice Department investigations to gain the favor of foreign leaders. One of those investigations was into a Turkish company and was being overseen by prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, who refused on Saturday to step down from his position despite Attorney General Bill Barr announcing his resignation.
Bolton also claims to have firsthand knowledge of Trump trying to withhold federal aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into political rival Joe Biden, a theory that was at the heart of the impeachment case against the president.
And he reportedly describes the administration as a toxic environment in which the president regularly insults his own staff and foreign leaders — saying, for example, that everything French President Emmanuel Macron touches“turns to s**t.”