President Trump tries to quash bombshell book

President Trump is using hardball tactics in an attempt to blunt the impact of Michael Wolff's bombshell-filled book ...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 8:17 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 8:17 PM

President Trump is using hardball tactics in an attempt to blunt the impact of Michael Wolff's bombshell-filled book about his administration.

Charles Harder, an attorney representing the president, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt, on Thursday morning.

The legal letter, a copy of which was obtained by CNNMoney, demanded that the publisher "cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination" of the book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

Wolff's book is full of shocking quotes and claims about White House chaos and incompetence. The book affirms much of what's been previously reported by other outlets and adds disturbing new details. But it also contains some errors, according to early reviewers. Excerpts from the book have been published by New York magazine and The Hollywood Reporter.

Harder's letter alleges that the book excerpts contain "false/baseless statements" about the president. The letter also uses the term "actual malice," raising the prospect of a libel or defamation case.

Legal experts said an actual lawsuit is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, the letter is a serious escalation in Trump's war against media outlets. Some journalism advocates said Trump's tactic was disturbing and compared it to an attempt at censorship. Others said the threat would backfire and help sell even more copies of the book.

The threat came one day after Harder sent a letter to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is quoted in the book saying unflattering things about Trump and his family, threatening to sue him.

Trump has a long history of challenging opponents with cease and desist letters. He also has a reputation for threatening lawsuits but not following through.

At midday Thursday, a spokeswoman for Henry Holt confirmed that it has received the letter. The company had no further comment. Wolff did not respond to a request for comment.

The publisher will almost certainly dismiss the letter and move forward as planned.

Thousands of copies of "Fire and Fury" have already been shipped to bookstores, and some news outlets have already obtained copies. The book is scheduled to be released to the public next Tuesday.

When quotes from the book leaked out on Wednesday, it immediately soared to #1 on Amazon's best selling books list. The pre-orders reflect intense interest in the subject matter.

It seems Trump is belatedly trying to extinguish that interest -- even though some of his top aides gave Wolff unprecedented access to write the book last year.

The legal effort on Trump's behalf is led by Charles Harder, an entertainment industry litigator best known for leading Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker.

Harder has also represented Trump and his wife Melania in the past. He reportedly represented former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes as well. And Harder also briefly represented Harvey Weinstein, and threatened on his behalf to sue The New York Times. No suit was ever filed, and Harder left Weinstein's legal team less than two weeks after making the threat.

Thursday's letter to Wolff and the publisher is a pretty standard cease and desist letter -- but it is remarkable because it involves the president.

The letter says: "Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the Book, the Article, or any excerpts or summaries of either of them, to any person or entity, and that you issue a full and complete retraction and apology to my client as to all statements made about him in the Book and Article that lack competent evidentiary support."

Terre Haute
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 57°
Robinson
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 56°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 57°
Paris
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 56°
Mattoon/Charleston
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 56°
Terre Haute
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 57°
Terre Haute
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 57°
Partly to mostly sunny and pleasant
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

MARSHALL RED HILL

Image

BARR REEVE BLOOMFIELD

Image

WASH CATH VIN RIV

Image

NORTH DAVIESS SULLIVAN

Image

MT VERNON POSEY WASHINGTON

Image

DUGGER RIVERTON PARKE

Image

LINTON GBB STATE FINALS

Image

THN LAF JEFF

Image

Overnight: Scattered showers possible. Low: 40°

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1183569

Reported Deaths: 22675
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4731949339
DuPage765421193
Will64803887
Lake59315919
Kane50595714
Winnebago28297438
Madison27896453
St. Clair25341466
McHenry24249265
Champaign18055124
Peoria16868262
Sangamon16094217
McLean14560157
Tazewell13490239
Rock Island13042286
Kankakee12468189
Kendall1101685
LaSalle10764219
Macon9432185
Vermilion8547115
DeKalb8241112
Adams7997114
Williamson6789119
Boone591971
Whiteside5917147
Clinton556689
Coles518491
Grundy510863
Knox5015131
Ogle500373
Jackson459860
Effingham449269
Macoupin434479
Henry432256
Marion4257111
Livingston418176
Franklin414265
Stephenson408575
Monroe405883
Jefferson3972115
Randolph395878
Woodford366360
Morgan358276
Montgomery348667
Lee334343
Logan330653
Bureau330073
Christian329767
Fayette306452
Perry304157
Fulton284344
Iroquois276960
Jersey249246
Douglas243432
McDonough231740
Lawrence229524
Saline229247
Union218436
Shelby213634
Crawford200522
Bond190224
Cass188222
Pike168750
Clark168129
Wayne166948
Hancock166829
Warren166444
Richland163538
Jo Daviess160522
White160125
Washington158023
Ford157945
Carroll157434
Edgar154237
Moultrie148722
Clay142941
Greene137631
Johnson134712
Piatt132114
Wabash129912
Mason127841
Mercer127733
De Witt127622
Massac126933
Cumberland119118
Jasper110617
Menard10348
Marshall83614
Hamilton78715
Schuyler6755
Pulaski6705
Brown6606
Stark54022
Edwards52310
Henderson49814
Calhoun4782
Scott4481
Alexander4478
Gallatin4364
Putnam4143
Hardin34412
Pope2823
Out of IL70
Unassigned02215

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
Wabash330576
Putnam328259
Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
Jefferson293773
Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
Brown94839
Benton91713
Crawford90313
Martin80114
Warren75312
Switzerland7527
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0433