A federal judge said that Bolton’s counterarguments against the Trump administration do not hold water.
A federal judge will not dismiss a Trump administration lawsuit against former national security adviser John R. Bolton.
The case centers on Bolton’s memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.” The book, which recalls Bolton’s employment under President Trump, is highly critical of the commander-in-chief.
The lawsuit, notes the New York Times, seeks to seize Bolton’s $2 million book advance, as well as any future proceeds from its publication and sale. The government has repeatedly insisted that Bolton violated the terms of several nondisclosure agreements in releasing classified information in his memoir before the administration could perform a full review.
In a 26-page opinion, Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia discarded Bolton’s request to dismiss the administration’s lawsuit.
In his determination, Lamberth observed that the government has a genuine legal argument—one which Bolton has thus far been unable to refute.
“The government alleges that Bolton shared his manuscript with Simon & Schuster, and Bolton never received written authorization to share his book,” Lamberth wrote. “Accordingly, the complaint sufficiently alleges that Bolton violated his prepublication review obligation by sharing his manuscript before the review ended.”
Lamberth noted that none of Bolton’s counterarguments “are convincing.”
The New York Times notes that Bolton had, in fact, submitted his book for review. The process took months, but Bolton was given oral permission by National Security Council official Ellen Knight to publish his memoir.
Knight’s review, says the Times, found Bolton’s manuscript adequate, insofar as it did not contain any sensitive or highly classified information.
But Bolton never received authorization from the White House to go ahead and publish. The Times suggests that, while Knight had tried to send Bolton’s book to the White House, Trump’s own political appointees prevented her from sending any correspondence.
And because Bolton never received the White House’s approval, he may still be bound by the terms of nondisclosure agreements. If found in violation of the same, Bolton would have to forfeit any profits he receives from “The Room Where It Happened.”
“Bolton,” Lamberth wrote, “must show either that he did not have these obligations or, even if he had them, that he did not breach them.”
Chuck Cooper, one of Bolton’s attorneys, said the next stage in the case will likely be evidentiary.
“The Court’s decision, which we are still studying, means that the case will now move forward to the phase in which the parties will develop and present their evidence to the Court,” Cooper said.
In a separate statement, the Justice Department said it was “pleased with the ruling.”
Bolton’s book, adds CNN, “presents a damning picture of Trump’s White House.” Among other things, Bolton suggested that President Trump’s only real concern as commander-in-chief is securing a second term in office. Bolton also claimed that Trump is “woefully informed” on basic matters of foreign policy, is obsessed with his media image, and asked the Chinese and Ukrainian governments for assistance in winning the 2020 presidential election.