Trump bid to block ex-aide John Bolton′s book knocked back | News | DW | 20.06.2020
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Trump bid to block ex-aide John Bolton's book knocked back

The memoir by ex-national security adviser John Bolton portrays the president as corrupt and incompetent. The Trump administration had sought to stop its release, saying the book could spill classified information.

A US federal judge on Saturday rejected an attempt by the Trump administration to block the release of a memoir by former national security adviser John Bolton.

"The Room Where it Happened," set to go on sale next week, paints a damning portrait of Donald Trump and his foreign policy decision-making. In it, Bolton describes the US president as uninformed and unfit for office, and details an account of Trump "pleading" with China for help to win reelection. 

The White House had sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the book's publication, alleging it contained secret information and could jeopardize national security. 

Read more: John Bolton book: Trump sought reelection help from China

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Damage done

In his ruling, Judge Royce Lamberth made clear that Bolton's failure to get clearance from the administration raised "grave national security concerns," but said it was ultimately too late for an injunction.

"In taking it upon himself to publish his book without securing final approval from national intelligence authorities, Bolton may indeed have caused the country irreparable harm. But in the internet age, even a handful of copies in circulation could irrevocably destroy confidentiality," Lamberth wrote.

He added that "the government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm."

Although the memoir has not yet been made available to the public, 200,000 copies of it have already been sent to bookshops around the US, and its contents have been widely reported by the media.

"With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe — many in newsrooms — the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo," the judge wrote.

Read more: Trump: Ex-adviser John Bolton risks facing charges if he publishes book

'Price to pay'

Shortly after the decision was announced, Trump wrote on Twitter that Bolton must face consequences for his actions. 

"Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay," he said.

Bolton's lawyers argued that their client spent months working with the White House to address any concerns about national security. 

Bolton, a foreign policy hawk, served as national security adviser under Trump for 17 months before he was fired last September

nm/mm (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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