Bolton book excerpts complicate White House demand to halt publication, judge says
By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) - A federal judge raised doubts on Friday that the White House could keep the memoirs of former national security advisor John Bolton out of the public eye after the media released extracts and distributed more than 200,000 copies.
"The horse, as we said in Texas, appears to be out of the stable," US District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a hearing in Washington.
Lamberth weighs the Trump administration's urgent injunction and injunction against the scheduled release of "The Room Where It Happened: A Memory of the White House" on June 23.
The administration says the book contains classified information and threatens national security. Lamberth said he would review the book before making a decision.
Bolton's book has attracted a lot of attention because it depicts Trump withered.
Politics were said to have pushed Trump's foreign policy, including his request to Chinese President Xi Jinping to help with re-election, and detailed alleged shortcomings that Trump's impeachment process failed to address.
Trump ousted Bolton, a foreign policy hawk, last September after 17 months as a national security advisor.
Department of Justice attorney David Morrell described Bolton as an "exasperated" former employee who should not be "rewarded" for publication without the government approval required in his nondisclosure agreement.
He said Bolton should "scrape back" the book or hinder its distribution, including audio books.
"This is a problem that he caused himself," said Morrell.
Bolton's lawyer Charles Cooper countered that stopping the publication would violate his client's freedom of speech.
"The speech was spoken," said Cooper. "It cannot be unspoken."
Lamberth also asked if Bolton released his book because the government review was too slow.
"He just left and told the publisher to publish," he asked Cooper. "Didn't something happen?"
Trump tweeted on Thursday that the book was "a compilation of lies and fabricated stories" to make him look bad.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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