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20 Jun

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Donald Trump: Crowds gather for Tulsa rally despite coronavirus fears

World Politics

United States

  • Trump says Bolton ‘must pay a very big price for this’

  • Former national security adviser’s memoir due out Tuesday

Donald Trump, left, flanked by national security advisor John Bolton, right, speaks at the White House in April 2018. Photograph: The Washington Post/Getty Images

A federal judge has declined to block the publication of a tell-all book by John Bolton, Donald Trump’s third national security adviser.

As Judge Royce C Lamberth noted, hundreds of thousands of copies of The Room Where It Happened have been shipped and excerpts have been published widely. The book remains due to be released on Tuesday.

But the judge did have harsh words for Bolton, who he said failed to complete a national security review and “likely published classified materials”. Bolton, the judge said, had “gambled with the national security of the United States” and “exposed … himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability”.

On Twitter, Trump said Bolton “must pay a very big price for this, as others have before him”. The president also praised the judge, contrived to claim “a big court win” and wrote of his former aide, a foreign policy hawk: “He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!”

Trump has sought to crack down on national security leakers and repeatedly advocated jail sentences for reporters who use such material.

In an email to the Guardian, Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor, said Trump could now “continue to press the case to prevent Bolton from receiving proceeds from the book’s sale and to force him to disgorge the $2m advance the publisher offered, while the government could criminally prosecute Bolton for violating the [non-disclosure agreement] and jeopardising national security”.

By the looks of it, the horse is not just out of the barn – it is out of the country

Judge Royce C Lamberth

Bolton’s lawyers said he had not violated federal law.

An ambassador to the United Nations under George W Bush, Bolton was national security adviser between April 2018 and September 2019, when he resigned. Trump claimed to have fired him.

Excerpts from his book have proved highly embarrassing to Trump, revelations including what Bolton says is impeachable conduct in seeking re-election help from foreign countries, China among them, and the president’s ignorance of basic geopolitical realities.

 

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