The media strikes again. It’s all over mainstream news that a judge denied the Trump administration’s attempt to block publication of John Bolton’s new memoir, The Room Where It Happened. What’s not being talked about much is that the former national security advisor may have released sensitive information that could put the United States at risk. Neither do journalists appear interested in the motivation behind pushing this book without clearance from the White House. Was it pure spite, perhaps, or simple financial gain – or both?
The damage has already been done since the publishers released 200,000 copies of Bolton’s book to journalists, media, and other avenues – a decision that Judge Royce Lamberth harshly condemned in his ruling: “Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability.”
What’s Done is Done
The Justice Department still pushed for an injunction to stop further release of the memoir in other forms such as audiobook and eBook, but the judge said it was too late for that. “… by the looks of it, the horse is not just out of the barn – it is out of the country,” his honor said. “With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe – many in newsrooms – the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo.”
You can’t block what’s already happened, and with the world of the internet and instant sharing, the 200,000 copies can quickly become millions. The ruling wasn’t precisely against President Donald Trump’s attempt to block the publication; it was just a matter of the deed already being done. Judge Lamberth explained: “But these facts [security issues] do not control the motion before the Court. The government has failed to establish than an injunction will prevent irreparable harm.”
The ruling also does not get Bolton off the hot seat either. Judge Lamberth suggested that the case against him would likely succeed on merits and that the author could have sued the government but chose instead to fast-track the publication that “carried the benefit of publicity and sales, and the cost of substantial risk exposure.”
There are two facts at stake that suggest Bolton’s motivation was financial profit: He did not wait for White House clearance first, and he refused to be a witness during the impeachment process.
In the first instance, waiting for clearance from the government would still take some time, which of course, would delay the publication. Although Bolton’s legal team claimed he received clearance from one official, yet another official said it was not approved, and the manuscript still needed to be checked for security concerns. As we all know, the wheels of government are square and slow-turning, so it could have taken months longer to obtain approval. Given that this is an election year and the book is a roast of the president, it would be imperative to get the memoir out before election day.
If Bolton was so dead set against Trump and believes everything he claims in his book, then why didn’t he step forward and testify during the president’s impeachment trial? Could he have been holding out for a book deal and feared his memoir would lose its appeal and, therefore, its monetary value, if his secrets were revealed prematurely? Or, was he concerned that his allegations might not stand up to scrutiny during the impeachment?
With a $2 million deal on the line, it’s not unreasonable to question the motives to publish quickly before White House approval, during a presidential election campaign, and maximizing its window of popularity. Judge Lamberth was very aware of these concerns and warned:
“This was Bolton’s bet: if he is right and the book does not contain classified information, he keeps the upside mentioned above [$2 million]; but if he is wrong, he stands to lose his profits from the book deal, exposes himself to criminal liability, and imperils national security. Bolton was wrong.”
Bolton’s Memoir and Accusations
The Room Where It Happened sounds like a horror flick, and the way Bolton describes the president and his actions would seem to reflect that. The former advisor made some extreme claims about the commander in chief, but is it all real or gross exaggeration?
Bolton accused Trump of begging Chinese president Xi Jinping for help getting reelected, promising to waive some tariffs. Trump “stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,” Bolton wrote. He charged that the president’s every decision was “driven by reelection calculations,” which doesn’t seem to be a startling claim to make about any elected official. Bolton also wrote that Trump was oblivious to the Muslim concentration camps in China, saying, “Religious repression in China was also not on Trump’s agenda; whether it was the Catholic Church or Falun Gong, it didn’t register.”
Some of the other claims include:
- The president wanted CNN reporters silenced. He told Attorney General William Bar to “arrest the reporters, force them to serve time in jail, and then demand they disclose their sources,” according to Bolton.
- The president insisted on having a military presence in Venezuela.
- Trump didn’t approve of sanctions on Russia and repeatedly grumbled about them. Bolton said the president had “difficulty in separating personal from official relations.”
The next step seems to be confirmation that the book does not contain any security secrets. If it does, then Bolton may very well see himself in some seriously hot water, which could require confiscation of any advancements and earnings from the release and sales of his book, at the very least. However, as Liberty Nation‘s managing editor Mark Angelides opined, the book will serve as part of just another effort by the left to oust Trump:
“This book will doubtless become a rallying point for the multitude of anti-Trumpers desperate for their next fix. Whether the majority will actually read it or just rely on scathing headlines from a pump-and-dump media remains to be seen. Vitriol sells, and a book that denounces the president as a fool and a charlatan in the run-up to an all-important election may just push Bolton’s literary efforts out of the niche market and into the mainstream.”
In the final analysis, though, Bolton’s book will likely make no difference at the polls. The establishment, neoconservative values embodied in characters like Bolton have been roundly rejected by Trump’s supporters. None of the claims in his book, credible or not, are going to sway those supporters against the president.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.