STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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 7:17 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 7:17 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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15523

Reported Deaths: 734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17952

Reported Deaths: 630
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 70°
Oxford
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Starkville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 63°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather