Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is a bestseller from Michael Wolff which covers untold events from the president’s first year in office, including his family life, behaviors and addictions. It sparked strong reaction from Donald Trump, who is now threatening Stephen Bannon with legal actions for an alleged betrayal.
The new tell-all book which soared from 48,449th on Amazon’s bestselling books list to number one with a few hours, describes chaos, feuds and allegations of incompetence during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the subsequent happenings in the White House since he assumed presidential roles from Barack Obama.
In a fresh escalation after a year of turmoil that left the White House reeling, Donald Trump’s lawyers on Wednesday night threatened to sue his former right-hand man Steve Bannon.
A cease and desist letter accuses Bannon of violating a non-disclosure agreement by speaking about his time on Trump’s election campaign to Michael Wolff, whose new book has caused shockwaves in Washington since it was first made public by the Guardian.
Trump’s hopes of turning the page on a chaotic 2017 were dashed by extracts from the bestseller which has triggered an ugly and unprecedented war of words between Trump and Bannon.
Author Michael Wolff, a well-known New York journalist with a reputation for gaining the confidence of the famous and wealthy only to skewer them with their own words, had access to President Donald Trump’s senior campaign staff, White House personnel, Trump family members and associates to write Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
Charles Harder, the president’s lawyer, told ABC News that “legal action is imminent,” adding that Bannon’s communications with Wolff “will evoke numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients.”
Harder’s letter to Bannon warned, “You have breached the agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr Trump, his family members, and the company, disclosing confidential information to Mr Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr Wolff about Mr Trump, his family members, and the company.”
The Guardian identified Bannon as one of the sources in Wolff’s book.
An exchange of words ensued between Trump Jr. and the former chief strategist who he said, definitely crossed the line by referring to his wife Ivanka Trump as “dumb as a brick”.
Bannon is a former Trump campaign strategist and adviser, who is remembered for his audacious description of a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian operatives as “treasonous” – among many other colorful views and slurs on Trump, his family and the people around him.
Trump Jr. accused Bannon, via Twitter, of “undermining the President” and said that Bannon squandered his tenure at the White House.
“Steve is not a strategist, he is an opportunist,” tweeted Trump Jr.
Steve had the honor of working in the White House & serving the country. Unfortunately, he squandered that privilege & turned that opportunity into a nightmare of backstabbing, harassing, leaking, lying & undermining the President. Steve is not a strategist, he is an opportunist
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 3, 2018
The Bannon revelations quoted in the book prompted a fiery and highly personal statement from the Trump White House suggesting Bannon had “lost his mind” (CNN) when he was fired from his post in the administration.
Lawyers for the Trump organization later wrote to Bannon (Washington Post) alleging he had breached non-disclosure agreements and threatening “imminent” legal action. The same lawyers followed that with a demand to Wolff and his publisher that the book be withheld.
The book title Fire and Fury, was apparently taken from the president’s August 8 comments last year about North Korea’s nuclear threat promising “fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
Fire and Fury goes on sale from January 9 but is already the number one bestseller on Amazon in the United States.
Wolff this week published a lengthy excerpt from the book – containing most of the key claims – in New York magazine.
However, a statement purporting to be from the Republican Party on the press release distribution platform Public carried a list of alleged misdeeds and errors through Wolff’s career.
Wolff, whose biography of media baron Rupert Murdoch The Man Who Owns the News, also caused a rift with its subject after many hours of interviews and cooperation, returned to familiar territory in the Trump book quoting Murdoch as calling the president “a fucking idiot” after a phone call from Trump.
New York magazine says Wolff has conducted more than 200 interviews since his new book was made public.