John Bolton's Book That Trump Wanted to Stop Is Spreading Widely on Piracy Sites

‘The Room Where it Happened’ is tearing up the charts on sites where people download the book for free.
Then-National Security Advisor John Bolton listens during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 13, 2018. Monday, January 20, 2020. Image: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s memoir The Room Where It Happened is set to release tomorrow, but it’s already a huge hit on pirate sites. According to Torrent Freak, The Pirate Bay, Google Drive, Drop Box, and various other private trackers are moving thousands of copies of the book. Two copies of the memoir are now the most popular e-books on The Pirate Bay.

Writing a memoir of the troubled Oval Office has become de rigueur for anyone who witnessed it firsthand, and we’ve known Bolton’s book was coming since Trump forced him out of the White House.


When House Democrats pressed him to testify under oath during the recent impeachment hearings, Bolton declined saying he was under orders from the White House not to speak. Democrats never subpoenaed Bolton, and Bolton said he’d fight any subpoena that didn’t come from the Republican-controlled senate. He later criticized the impeachment for being too narrow in scope and too hastily thrown together. He reportedly got a $2 million advance to write a memoir publisher Simon & Schuster rushed to print. As copies of the 500-page manuscript made its way to reviewers and the press, the White House sought an injunction to stop the book's publication.

On Saturday night, a federal judge chastised Bolton and his publisher, acknowledged that Bolton’s memoir will probably damage America, but said there’s nothing the government could do to stop the book's publication. “For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir,” the Court’s decision said

The Judge noted that thousands of copies of the book had already shipped and that it was too late to stop its publication.

“According to Simon & Schuster Chief Executive Jonathan Karp’s affidavit, ‘[m]ore than 200,000 copies of the Book have already been shipped domestically . . . to retail booksellers large and small, from large national chains and online entities to a host of small, independent, booksellers,’’’ the Court’s decision said.

The Judge mentioned that a CBS News reporter was holding a copy of the book while asking questions at a recent White House press conference. “By the looks of it, the horse is not just out of the barn—it is out of the country,” the Court said. “Bolton may indeed have caused the country irreparable harm. But in the Internet age, even a handful of copies in circulation could irrevocably destroy confidentiality. A single dedicated individual with a book in hand could publish its contents far and wide from his local coffee shop. With hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe—many in newsrooms—the damage is done. There is no restoring the status quo.”

Simon & Schuster is issuing DMCA notices when it finds the book online and companies such as Twitter and Google have obliged, removing direct links to pirated copies of the book from their websites. But, as the Judge said, the damage is done. The book is out there and it’s easy to find, for free, all over the internet. Mega Upload, The Pirate Bay, and various pirate trackers are sharing copies of the book and it’s already been downloaded thousands of times.

Pirating Bolton’s memoir presents an elegant solution for the morally conflicted. The Room Where It Happened Trump tried to stop from being published using the power of the government. Concerned citizens should probably read a book the President would rather you not.