On January 3rd, excerpts of the book Fire and Fury left media outlets begging for more. On January 4th, Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder took legal action to prevent its release. Two days later, it got into the hands of the public.
Michael Wolff, the author of the explosive novel, claimed to have approached Trump in 2017 to inquire about writing a book about his presidency. Trump agreed, giving him access to the west wing of the White House. From here Wolff conducted research for his book through interviews and observations as a “fly on the wall,” although Trump later claimed that this interaction never took place.
The most controversial quotes of the book came from Steve Bannon, the chief executive of the Trump campaign. According to Bannon, Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz got Trump “out of all kinds of jams […] on the campaign – what did we have, a hundred women? Kasowitz took care of all of them.” Other quotes include him calling Ivanka Trump “as dumb as a brick” and that Muller’s investigation would likely uncover money laundering.
Wolf himself said that Trump was characterized by “wide-ranging ignorance,” citing his campaign advisor Sam Nunberg, who reportedly attempted to explain the Constitution to Trump, who could not get past the Fourth Amendment.
Trump and other White House officials made quickly to damage the reputation of the book. The White House released a statement saying that Bannon had “lost his mind” and the Press Secretary called it “trashy tabloid fiction” when inquired at her daily press briefing. Charles Harder, Trump’s lawyer sought to stop the book’s release, claiming that Wolff had violated a non-disclosure agreement, ending the letter with a threat of a lawsuit for libel.
Trump himself quickly took to Twitter, calling the book “phony” and “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist,” ending with giving Bannon the nickname “Sloppy Steve.”
Bannon responded in an interview the same day, asserting that “one of the things we have to count on is that Donald Trump will attack. […] My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point.”
The next day, Trump continued to tweet, declaring that his “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.” He also concluded that he was “a very stable genius.”
On January 8th, Wolff’s publisher lawyer issued a statement regarding the cease-and-desist claim, maintaining that “my clients do not intend to cease publication, no such retraction will occur, and no apology is warranted.”
John Sargent, CEO of Fire and Fury’s publishing company, stated that “as citizens, we must demand that President Trump understand and abide by the First Amendment of our Constitution.”
(Taken from Business Insider, Politico and BBC News)