South Korea is disputing former national security adviser John Bolton’s account of President Trump’s negotiations with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Bolton has written a memoir of his time in the White House under Trump titled “The Room Where It Happened.” The book is scheduled for release on Tuesday, though many excerpts have already appeared in the press.
A South Korean security official says that Bolton’s version of the events surrounding three U.S.-North Korea summits that took place from June 2018-June 2019 is “distorted.” In his book, Bolton claims that South Korean President Moon Jae-in set unrealistic expectations for the talks while pursuing his own agenda to unify the Korean peninsula. Bolton describes Moon as “schizophrenic,” according to Reuters.
“It does not reflect accurate facts and substantially distorts facts,” South Korea national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said, adding that Bolton’s published account of internal deliberations between the heads of state set a “dangerous precedent.”
“Unilaterally publishing consultations made based on mutual trust violates the basic principles of diplomacy and could severely damage future negotiations,” Chung said.
Trump has responded forcefully to the book, denying its claims and attacking Bolton as a “wacko.”
“Wacko John Bolton’s ‘exceedingly tedious’ … book is made up of lies [and] fake stories. Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized [and] happily dumped. What a dope!” Trump tweeted on last week, quoting a New York Times review critical of Bolton’s book.
The U.S. Department of Justice has sued to block the book from being published, claiming that Bolton violated rules against publishing classified information. Copies of the book have already been released to the press, however, so the lawsuit is largely moot for the sake of protecting any privileged information.
D.C. Circuit Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in the case on Saturday denying a Trump administration request to block the book’s publishing date. Lamberth also warned Bolton that if the former national security adviser did not receive approval from the administration before publishing the book, he could forfeit his $2 million book advance and possibly more.
“Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States,” Lamberth wrote in his decision, according to The New York Times. “He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability. But these facts do not control the motion before the court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm.”
Trump cheered the ruling, tweeted that it was a “BIG COURT WIN against Bolton.”
“Bolton broke the law and has been called out and rebuked for so doing, with a really big price to pay. He likes dropping bombs on people, and killing them. Now he will have bombs dropped on him!” Trump said.