Judge rejects White House bid to block publication of Bolton book

A federal judge has ruled that former national security adviser John Bolton can move forward in publishing his tell-all book despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release because of concerns that classified information could be exposed.

The decision from US District Judge Royce Lamberth on Saturday is a victory for Bolton in a court case that involved core First Amendment and national security concerns.

The ruling means a broader election-year readership and distribution of a memoir that paints an unflattering portrait of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy decision-making during the turbulent year-and-a-half that Bolton spent in the White House.

Several excerpts have already been released from the book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, which is scheduled for release on June 23.

The book has drawn attention for its withering portrayal of Trump, including alleged improprieties far more extensive than the accusations underlying the president’s impeachment trial in February.

Bolton is a foreign policy hawk who left the administration last September after 17 months as NSA.

He accused Trump in the memoir of exhibiting “fundamentally unacceptable behavior” that eroded the legitimacy of the presidency, and being driven by his own political interests.

Bolton said Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, once explicitly sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win a second term.

Trump tweeted on Thursday that the book was “a compilation of lies and made up stories”, which could undermine the argument that publication could pose a threat.

The government supported its argument with filings from several senior intelligence officials who said publishing would damage national security.

Simon & Schuster, Bolton’s publisher, has rejected the government’s accusations, and lawyers for Bolton said more than 200,000 copies of the book have already been distributed.

Bolton’s lawyers also called an injunction an illegal prior restraint, citing the Supreme Court’s 1971 rejection of the Nixon administration’s bid to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers, which detailed US military involvement in Vietnam.

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