And while Trump and his supporters question the book’s authenticity, it’s now being reported that the author has dozens of tapes to back up the incendiary quotes from his book that has turned the Trump administration upside down and now squarely pits the president against his former Chief Political Strategist Steve Bannon.
According to the Axios AM newsletter:
“Michael Wolff has tapes to back up quotes in his incendiary book — dozens of hours of them.
Among the sources he taped, I’m told, are Bannon and former White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh.
So that’s going to make it harder for officials to deny embarrassing or revealing quotes attributed to them in “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” out Tuesday.
In some cases, the officials thought they were talking off the record. But what are they going to do now?
Although the White House yesterday portrayed Wolff as a poseur, he spent hours at a time in private areas of the West Wing, including the office of Reince Priebus when he was chief of staff.
The White House says Wolff was cleared for access to the West Wing fewer than 20 times.
Wolff, a New Yorker, stayed at the Hay Adams Hotel when he came down to D.C., and White House sources frequently crossed Lafayette Park to meet him there.
Some reporters and officials are calling the book sloppy, and challenging specific passages.
How could Wolff possibly know for sure what Steve Bannon and the late Roger Ailes said at a private dinner? It turns out Wolff hosted the dinner for six at his Manhattan townhouse.”
In the book, Bannon is quoted labeling Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner‘s meeting with Russian operatives as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” He also described Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump as “dumb as a brick.”
In a written statement, Trump fired back at his former strategist stating that Bannon was an opportunistic exaggerating self-promoter (try not to pass out from the irony) and that he had “very little to do with our historic victory.” He claimed that Bannon doesn’t want to “make America great again” but rather he’s “simply seeking to burn it all down.”
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency,” Mr. Trump said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”
On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon, citing the Trump campaign non-disclosure agreement that the former adviser signed before joining the campaign. However, it turns out that there are dozens of Trump staffers who have gone on the record for Wolff’s book under orders from the White House to cooperate with the author.
“Wolff said Trump himself “encouraged” his fly-on-the-wall approach to covering his White House. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who called the book “trashy tabloid fiction,” said on Wednesday that 95 percent of the author’s interactions with administration officials occurred at Bannon’s request. Sanders added that Wolff “never actually sat down with the president” but he did speak with Trump for about five-to-seven minutes. That conversation wasn’t originally intended for the book, Sanders said.
It’s unclear what the White House’s reaction to the possibility of audio records will be, but if the past is any indication of the future, a denial may be in store. A year after the leaking of the Access Hollywood tape that featured Trump boasting about serial sexual assault, Trump claimed it was not his voice on the recording.”
It seems that Trump’s penchant for having his ego stroked may have finally bitten him in the backside causing divisions in his base and a media war with the man who arguably helped him win the election. And while Trump supporters, white supremacists, Tea Partiers, and other assorted right-wing nutjobs fight it out in an absurd but amusing political (and perhaps literal) battle royale, the 2018 midterm elections are inching closer every day.
And Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still sitting an office somewhere quietly sharpening pencils and preparing for his next move.
Featured image via Pool/Pool Getty Images.