President Trump’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter Thursday to the publisher of an upcoming book that gives an unflattering portrayal of the president and his team, as the White House and its allies again pushed back aggressively against former adviser Steve Bannon and the book’s author.
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, sent a cease-and-desist letter Thursday to the publisher of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” and to author Michael Wolff.
“We are investigating numerous false and/or baseless statements that you have made about Mr. Trump,” the lawyer wrote to Mr. Wolff. The letters also states that the legal team is looking into possible defamation of Mr. Trump and his family and invasion of privacy.
The letter to Mr. Wolff and publisher Henry Holt and Co. Inc. also accuses the author of actual malice.
“Actual malice (reckless disregard for the truth) can be proven by the fact that the book admits in the Introduction that it contains untrue statements,” the letter states. “Moreover, the Book appears to cite to no sources for many of its most damaging statements about Mr. Trump.”
Mr. Harder adds, “Also, many of your so-called ‘sources’ have stated publicly that they never spoke to Mr. Wolff and/or never made the statements that are being attributed to them. Other alleged ‘sources’ of statements about Mr. Trump are believed to have no personal knowledge of the facts upon which they are making statements or are known to be unreliable and/or strongly biased against Mr. Trump.”
Mr. Wolff, in a new article for The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, recounts his frequent access to the West Wing staff in the early months of the administration, and offers more unflattering depictions of the White House operations.
“To say that no one was in charge, that there were no guiding principles, not even a working org chart, would again be an understatement,” Mr. Wolff writes.
The White House and its allies resumed their counteroffensive Thursday in the media. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci defended the president and his son, Donald Trump Jr., on several morning TV news shows.
He specifically countered Mr. Bannon’s allegation in the upcoming book “Fire and Fury” that the younger Trump’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign was “treasonous.”
“There’s nobody less treasonous than Don Jr., there’s nobody more patriotic,” Mr. Scaramucci said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
On MSNBC, he called the younger Trump “a great American,” and said Mr. Bannon should apologize to the president’s son.
Others in the White House are taking aim at author Michael Wolff, poking holes in some of the book excerpts that have circulated.
Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin commented on Twitter, “We have become used to #FakeNews, now we have #FakeBooks! #MAGA.”
Presidential aide Dan Scavino posted a photograph on Twitter of Mr. Trump at a golf course with then-House Speaker John Boehner in 2013. The book portrays Mr. Trump as not knowing Mr. Boehner’s name during the 2016 campaign.
Mr. Scavino said on Twitter, “Seems like I took this photo yesterday of @SpeakerBoehner & NYC Businessman @realDonaldTrump, out for a round of golf & many laughs together, back in 2013. Claims of President Trump not knowing who John Boehner was, when they’ve known each other for a long time, are 100% FALSE!”
Mr. Scaramucci said of the book, “A lot of it’s nonsense.”
The president lashed out at Mr. Bannon on Wednesday in a lengthy statement, saying his former aide had “lost his mind.” Mr. Trump’s lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mr. Bannon Wednesday night, accusing him of violating a confidentiality agreement by speaking with the book’s author.
In a radio show on Sirius on Wednesday night, Mr. Bannon said he is still backing the president’s agenda.
“Nothing will ever come between us and President Trump and his agenda,” Mr. Bannon said, adding that “we’re as tight on this agenda as we’ve ever been.”