By Vanessa Allen
The Daily Mail
The President says it’s all lies, but the author insists
he has 200 taped interviews with aides.
“IT’S ALL LIES!”
January 5, 2018. Donald Trump’s desperate attempt to ban a bombshell book about his presidency looked to have failed last night as its publishers brought the on-sale date forward to today.
The US President had ordered his lawyers to stop the publication of damaging claims against him and his family, including suggestions that his White House inner circle believed he was incapable of functioning as commander-in-chief.
The lacerating claims appear in a book by Michael Wolff, who said he had hours of taped conversations with some of Mr Trump’s closest aides, including former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House portrays Mr Trump as a reluctant President surrounded by a politically ambitious family and an administration divided by in-fighting.
A spokesman for Henry Holt & Co, the book’s publishers, said last night: ‘Due to unprecedented demand, we are moving the onsale date for all formats of Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff, to Friday, January 5… from the current on-sale date of January 9.’
The book quotes Mr Bannon as saying Donald Trump Jnr’s meeting with a group of Russians was ‘treasonous’, son-in-law Jared Kushner was involved in ‘greasy’ finance deals, daughter Ivanka was as ‘dumb as a brick’ and wife Melania ‘was in tears’ – and not of joy’ when he won the election.
Perhaps most damagingly, Mr Wolff said his access to the West Wing had convinced him that administration officials did not believe Mr Trump, 71, was capable of fulfilling his role as President. He said he had failed to recognise a series of friends at New Year, could not stop repeating anecdotes and behaved erratically, including eating in his locked bedroom because he was gripped by paranoia his food could be poisoned.
LD: Apparently paranoid about being poisoned by his chefs, the President has been accused of locking himself in his bedroom and eating cheeseburgers from McDonalds while watching TV on three screens. He and his wife Melania sleep in separate bedrooms. His enemies are also suggesting that he is suffering is from incipient dementia. He cannot remember the names and faces of his friends, it is being said, and keeps repeating the same stories again and again. How much of this is true is anyone’s guess.
Mr Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder yesterday served ‘cease and desist’ letters on Mr Wolff and his publishers. An 11-page legal letter said Mr Trump’s lawyers were investigating ‘numerous false and/or baseless statements’ in the book, and threatened legal action for libel and breach of contract, as Mr Bannon had signed a confidentiality agreement.
Another legal letter was sent to Mr Bannon, who was chief executive of the Trump presidential campaign from August 2016 and was the White House chief strategist for the first seven months of the presidency, until he was forced out. The White House also announced an immediate ban on personal mobile phones for staff and visitors to the West Wing in an apparent crackdown on leaks.
Mr Wolff said his book was based on 200 interviews, including several conversations with the President and senior staff, and that he had hours of tapes of his interviews. Several aides quoted in the book either denied they had spoken to Mr Wolff, or said they had been misquoted.
White House Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Mr Trump was ‘furious’ and ‘disgusted’ by the ‘outrageous’ and completely false claims. She said Mr Wolff had had only ‘one brief conversation’ with Mr Trump since he took office and much of the book was ‘completely untrue’.
A spokesman for the First Lady said: ‘This book is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section. Mrs Trump supported her husband’s decision to run for President and in fact, encouraged him to do so. She was confident he would win and was very happy when he did.’
Mr Trump said just three months ago that he had ‘a very good relationship’ with Mr Bannon. And despite his apparently savage comments about the Trump inner circle, Mr Bannon insisted he supported the President, calling him ‘a great man’. Mr Bannon was reported to have told associates he believed Mr Trump had been ill-served by some of his closest allies, including Donald Jnr and Mr Kushner. He said: ‘The President of the United States is a great man… you know I support him, day in and day out.’
Mr Trump repeated Mr Bannon’s comments to journalists last night, saying: ‘He obviously changed his tune pretty quick.’ He added: ‘I don’t talk to him.’
Katie Walsh, the President’s former deputy chief of staff, who is quoted extensively in the book, said she did not remember ever talking to Mr Wolff, and denied she had said dealing with Mr Trump was ‘like trying to figure out what a child wants’. Tom Barrack, chairman of Mr Trump’s inauguration, denied he had called him ‘stupid’ and said: ‘It’s clear to anyone who knows me those are not my words.’
The row surrounding the book has seen it top the best-seller list on Amazon, based on pre-order sales. Lawyers said freedom of speech laws meant the President was unlikely to succeed in blocking its publication.
LD: I advise readers of this article to be highly skeptical of the claims made in this controversial book about Donald Trump. The little we know about the author of the book, Michael Wolff (pictured), does nor inspire confidence.
He has been noted for “his willingness to say absolutely anything about anybody” and has been repeatedly accused of inventing scenes and conversations in his books and articles. On one occasion, he even went so far as to admit he could be “unreliable” and confessed to making up a story about his father-in-law having had open heart surgery. The First Lady’s caustic comment — “This book is clearly going to be sold in the bargain fiction section” — has the ring of truth about it.
My own view is that this hatchet job on Donald Trump is more than likely to contain many half-truths, exaggerations, and fictitious conversations — if not some outright lies. I have just this very minute heard from a trusted correspondent of mine who writes: “I saw Kelly Ann Conway several times during election day and night, so I can attest that this Michael Wolff character is a big liar.”
What we have here in this new development, I suspect, is a desperate attempt to push the Trump presidency over the precipice by resorting to a ragbag of the dirtiest of dirty tricks imaginable. It is the character assassination of Donald Trump, pure and simple, with no punches pulled. If it doesn’t succeed in bringing Trump down, his physical assassination could well follow any time soon.
To quote a recent comment of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, “This is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews.” [LD]
To be continued in a follow-up article