Political Books

How Michael Wolff Wrote the Book

Hollywood Reporter: “After the election, I proposed to him that I come to the White House and report an inside story for later publication — journalistically, as a fly on the wall — which he seemed to misconstrue as a request for a job. No, I said. I’d like to just watch and write a book. ‘A book?’ he responded, losing interest. ‘I hear a lot of people want to write books,’ he added, clearly not understanding why anybody would. ‘Do you know Ed Klein?’– author of several virulently anti-Hillary books. ‘Great guy. I think he should write a book about me.’ But sure, Trump seemed to say, knock yourself out.”

“Since the new White House was often uncertain about what the president meant or did not mean in any given utterance, his non-disapproval became a kind of passport for me to hang around — checking in each week at the Hay-Adams hotel, making appointments with various senior staffers who put my name in the ‘system,’ and then wandering across the street to the White House and plunking myself down, day after day, on a West Wing couch.”

Trump Tries to Halt Publication of Book

President Trump’s lawyer demanded that author Michael Wolff and his publisher immediately “cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination” of a forthcoming book, Fire and Fury, according to a letter obtained by ABC News.

The letter says they are looking into possible defamation of Trump and his family and invasion of privacy. It goes on to accuse the author of “actual malice.”

Trump’s Actions Suggest He’s Worried About Bannon

James Hohmann: “The fact that Trump’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter last night to Bannon, arguing that he violated the employment agreement he signed with the Trump Organization and likely defamed the president, reflects the palpable concern about what he might say. The lawyers said Bannon must stop communicating either confidential and or disparaging information, as well as preserve all records in preparation for an ‘imminent’ lawsuit. This is a classic Trump tactic, but it can also be read as at least a tacit admission that there is some there there.”

Playbook: “The White House can’t argue simultaneously that the book is completely incorrect and Bannon violated a non-disclosure agreement. If he violated a non-disclosure agreement then something he said was right!”

Second Excerpt of Book Coming Today

A second excerpt of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House will be released today, according to CNN.

“The national news coverage of the book’s revelations — including shocking quotes from Steve Bannon — sent the book soaring on Amazon.com. By 3 p.m. ET, it was ranked #1 on the site’s best-selling books list. Twenty-four hours earlier, it had been ranked #48,449.”

Update: It’s up at the Hollywood Reporter.

Bannon Praises Trump In First Comments Since Book

Stephen Bannon called President Trump “a great man” on his radio show late Wednesday night and said he supported him “day in and day out,” the Washington Post reports.

“It was the most direct reference in the program, otherwise devoted to immigration, to the explosive day that had just passed as a result of the release of some searing book excerpts that quoted Bannon.”

How Michael Wolff Defends His Reporting

From New York Magazine:

He conducted more than 200 interviews. In true Trumpian fashion, the administration’s lack of experience and disdain for political norms made for a hodgepodge of journalistic challenges. Information would be provided off-the-record or on deep background, then casually put on the record. Sources would fail to set any parameters on the use of a conversation, or would provide accounts in confidence, only to subsequently share their views widely. And the president’s own views, private as well as public, were constantly shared by others. The adaptation presented here offers a front-row view of Trump’s presidency, from his improvised transition to his first months in the Oval Office.

Mike Allen reports Wolff also “has tapes to back up quotes in his incendiary book — dozens of hours of them.”

Bannon Predicts He’ll Be Talking to Trump Again

The Associated Press reports Steve Bannon “was not surprised or particularly bothered by the blowback” from Michael Wolff’s new book.

“Bannon vowed on Wednesday to continue his ‘war’ on the Republican establishment and also predicted that, after a cooling-off period, he’d continue to speak with Trump, who likes to maintain contact with former advisers even after he fires and sometimes disparages them.””

Trump Never Wanted to Win

New York Magazine runs an excerpt from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House:

Not only did Trump disregard the potential conflicts of his own business deals and real-estate holdings, he audaciously refused to release his tax returns. Why should he? Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn’t become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend — Trump might actually win — seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears—and not of joy.

There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon’s not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States.

White House Not Prepared for Bannon Remarks

Jonathan Swan: “Bannon’s comments won’t surprise anyone who’s spoken to him, but as on the record statements they are shocking sources close to the president. The White House was prepared for the Wolff book to be bad for them — and sources there have told me he spent a ton of time in the building visiting with Bannon — but they weren’t prepared for Bannon doing this.”

“Bannon touched the third rail of Trumpworld — going after the president’s blood family.”

Travel as a Political Act

Coming soon: Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves.

With the world facing divisive events and movements like the rise of nationalism, Trump, Brexit, Erdogan, and more, there’s never been a more important time to travel.

Rick Steves believes the risks of travel are widely exaggerated, and that fear is for people who don’t get out much. After years of living out of a suitcase, he still marvels at how different cultures may find different truths to be self-evident. By sharing his experiences from Europe, Central America, Asia, and the Middle East, Rick shows how we can learn more about own country by viewing it from afar.

The best way to find great flights is from Scott’s Cheap Flights, an excellent newsletter from former Political Wire intern Scott Keyes. Highly recommended!