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Government Lawsuit Over John Bolton’s Memoir May Proceed, Judge Rules

A Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said, “We are pleased with the ruling.”

Charles J. Cooper, a lawyer for Mr. Bolton, said that, “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.”

The Bolton legal team has also asked Judge Lamberth, if he let the case proceed, to order the White House to turn over evidence to them about the process that administration officials used to handle the manuscript, letting his lawyers know what the government considers classified and permitting them to read internal White House emails and depose witnesses.

Ms. Knight has accused Trump political appointees of illegitimately politicizing the prepublication review process for Mr. Bolton’s book, and Mr. Bolton’s lawyers want to make the case that the government breached its own duty to handle the matter in good faith — and that nothing in the book is truly classified.

But a Justice Department lawyer argued last week against permitting any such “discovery,” saying Mr. Bolton’s decision to publish the book without waiting for written permission is itself sufficient to trigger a ruling that he must forfeit his proceeds from it.

In another legal matter related to a memoir and prepublication review, a federal judge Northern Virginia this week entered a judgment in a case against Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed archives of classified surveillance and hacking related documents to journalists in 2013.

Mr. Snowden has been indicted on suspicion of unauthorized disclosures of classified information and has been living in Russia. But he has given dozens of paid speeches by teleconference, and last year published a memoir, “Permanent Record,” without submitting the prepared remarks or the book manuscript to the prepublication review process.

When his book was published, the Justice Department filed a similar lawsuit —- although it did not try to block publication of the book — seeking to seize Mr. Snowden’s past and future profits from such activities.

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Judge says government’s lawsuit against John Bolton over tell-all book can proceed

A federal judge in the District of Columbia has rejected former national security adviser John Bolton’s request to dismiss the government’s lawsuit complaining his tell-all book about his time in the Trump administration disclosed classified information after it failed to complete its prepublication review. 

Judge Royce Lamberth found that the government proved that the publication of Bolton’s book, “The Room Where it Happened,” improperly “breached his prepublication review and predisclosure consultation obligations” and “his nondisclosure obligations.” The government is seeking the profits Bolton has made from the bestselling book, which painted his former boss, President Trump, in an unflattering light. 

“The government has the power to prevent harm to the national security,” Lamberth wrote. “While the government may not prevent Bolton from publishing unclassified materials, it may require him to undergo a reasonable prepublication review process.”

“We are pleased with the ruling,” Justice Department sppokeswoman Kerri Kupec told CBS News. 

In June, Lambreth had ruled that Bolton could move forward in the publication of his book, which had already been scheduled for release despite the government’s efforts to block it. But in that decision, Lambreth made it clear that he took issue with Bolton’s decision to opt out of the prepublication review process, and had “gambled with the national security of the United States.”

The government first brought the lawsuit in June, alleging that Bolton had become “dissatisfied at the pace of NSC’s review” and “decided to take matters into his own hands” by proceeding with the release of the book before the completion of the pre-publication review process.

The government has asked the court to make a summary judgment in this case, meaning that the court will decide rather than a jury. The Justice Department is also investigating the publication of “The Room Where it Happened,” which was published by Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS.

In just the first week of its publication, the book sold 780,000 copies.

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Judge says government’s suit over John Bolton book can proceed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration can move forward with its lawsuit against former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton over his tell-all book, a judge ruled Thursday in denying a request to dismiss the complaint.

The Justice Department alleges that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened” contains classified information, and the government sued in June to try to prevent the release. Though the book was published as scheduled, a suit accusing Bolton of breaking contracts with the government by disclosing classified information and by failing to complete a required prepublication review can proceed, U.S District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a 27-page opinion.

The Justice Department, the judge wrote, “plausibly pleads that Bolton breached those obligations.” A lawyer for Bolton did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The book, which details Bolton’s 17 months as Trump’s national security adviser, contains descriptions of conversations with foreign leaders that could be seen as politically damaging to the president. Those include accounts that Trump tied providing military aid to Ukraine to that country’s willingness to conduct investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter, and that Trump asked China’s President Xi Jinping to help his reelection prospects.

Lamberth in June denied the government’s request for an injunction to block the book from being published, given that thousands of copies had already been distributed. But he also scolded Bolton for moving ahead with the book’s publication without waiting for formal, written authorization that the book had been cleared.

Bolton’s lawyers have said he worked for months for a White House career official to ensure that the manuscript was carefully screened and that he received verbal clearance last April that the book no longer contained classified material. But White House officials conducted a second review that they said identified classified information still in the book.

The case took a notable turn when a lawyer for that career official, Ellen Knight, submitted a statement that said that Knight had advised National Security Council lawyers that she intended to clear the book for publication, but she was told to take no action and to tell Bolton that the process was “ongoing.”

Weeks later, she learned that a White House official who she says had no previous classification experience had been instructed to conduct a second review of the manuscript. That official, Michael Ellis, flagged hundreds of passages that he believed were still classified. Knight disagreed with that conclusion and considered the re-review to be “fundamentally flawed,” according to the filing.

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Judge says government’s suit over Bolton book can proceed | National politics

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Judge says government's suit over Bolton book can proceed

FILE – In this Sept. 30, 2019 file photo, former National security adviser John Bolton gestures while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. A judge ruled on Thursday that the Trump administration can move forward with its lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton over that his tell-all book, which officials say contains classified information.




WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration can move forward with its lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton over his tell-all book, a judge ruled Thursday in denying a request to dismiss the complaint.

The Justice Department alleges that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened” contains classified information, and the government sued in June to try to prevent the release. Though the book was published as scheduled, a suit accusing Bolton of breaking contracts with the government by disclosing classified information and by failing to complete a required prepublication review can proceed, U.S District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a 29-page opinion.

The book, which details Bolton’s 17 months as Trump’s national security adviser, contains descriptions of conversations with foreign leaders that could be seen as politically damaging to the president. Those include accounts that Trump tied providing military aid to Ukraine to that country’s willingness to conduct investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter, and that Trump asked China’s President Xi Jinping to help his reelection prospects.

Lamberth in June denied the government’s request for an injunction to block the book from being published, given that thousands of copies had already been distributed. But he also scolded Bolton for moving ahead with the book’s publication without waiting for formal, written authorization that the book had been cleared.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Judge says government’s suit over Bolton book can proceed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration can move forward with its lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton over his tell-all book, a judge ruled Thursday in denying a request to dismiss the complaint.



FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2019 file photo, former National security adviser John Bolton gestures while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. A judge ruled on Thursday that the Trump administration can move forward with its lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton over that his tell-all book, which officials say contains classified information.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


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FILE – In this Sept. 30, 2019 file photo, former National security adviser John Bolton gestures while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. A judge ruled on Thursday that the Trump administration can move forward with its lawsuit against former national security adviser John Bolton over that his tell-all book, which officials say contains classified information. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Justice Department alleges that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened” contains classified information, and the government sued in June to try to prevent the release. Though the book was published as scheduled, a suit accusing Bolton of breaking contracts with the government by disclosing classified information and by failing to complete a required prepublication review can proceed, U.S District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a 29-page opinion.

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The book, which details Bolton’s 17 months as Trump’s national security adviser, contains descriptions of conversations with foreign leaders that could be seen as politically damaging to the president. Those include accounts that Trump tied providing military aid to Ukraine to that country’s willingness to conduct investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter, and that Trump asked China’s President Xi Jinping to help his reelection prospects.

Lamberth in June denied the government’s request for an injunction to block the book from being published, given that thousands of copies had already been distributed. But he also scolded Bolton for moving ahead with the book’s publication without waiting for formal, written authorization that the book had been cleared.

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