Donald Trump has stepped up attacks against a new book by Michael Wolff about his campaign and the early days of his presidency, calling it “full of lies.”
Trump who has started being compared to Nixon by political historians in the capital, went straight to the offensive in his latest attack on Twitter.
Trump, blasted the book in a tweet on Thursday night and implored people to look at Wolff’s past and referred to his former-adviser-turned-latest-target, Steve Bannon, as “Sloppy Steve.”
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
The White House administration has been taking issue with claims from the book, titled “Fire and Fury,” since excerpts of it began to surface online ahead of its early publication on Friday. Quotes by Bannon that were negative about Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. led to a scathing statement from Trump, in which the President said his former campaign executive and top aide had “lost his mind.”
President Trump instructed both the white house legal team and his personal legal team Thursday against a new book that portrays him and his administration as incompetent and erratic. The threat of possible libel charges against its author, its publisher and his former chief strategist, whose provocative comments are causing a media stir.
In a letter, from the presidents solicitor, demanded that both Michael Wolff and Henry Holt and Co. who are the author and publisher of the forthcoming book, “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book,” as well as apologise to Trump. The president’s lawyers also requested a complete copy of the book as part of their inquiry.
Bannon also received an equally threatening letter where he was accused of breaking a NDA and just being a bad sport and he is sure to receive the full wrath of the president unless he withdrew all his comments.
This is huge decision by a sitting president to threaten “imminent” legal action against a publishing house, a journalist and a former aide represented a remarkable break with recent precedent and could have a chilling effect on free-speech rights.
Normally, President Trump is able to drown out any opposition, even countries with a tirade of his aggressive and overwhelming social media and media influence. However on this occasion Bannon, is quite influential himself. With his experience and connections in the media industry and his role as CEO of Breitbart website. He is proving to be quite a resilient adversary for the president.
Trump’s business techniques have always used lawsuits or the threat of them as a primary weapon against critics and competitors, deploying libel and slander allegations to push back against those who might embarrass or contradict him.
Trump has also sought to influence his alias and pressure the network around him. The loss of the Mercer family will be particularly hard for Mr. Bannon to overcome. The family has pumped tens of millions of dollars into businesses and groups that formed the platform from which Mr. Bannon has waged his populist anti-establishment crusade.
A certain Nixon reference can be drawn from this episode and indeed many similarities in the presidency so far. Nixon used his agencies to influence and bully his opponents and President Trump uses Twitter and his power as the sitting president.
Even though past administrations have sued publications to prevent information leaking, non of them have done it whilst being President.
The President is doing his best to curb freedom of speech, a constitutional right of all Americans and he is pulling out the big guns to do it, irrespective of the consequences to democracy.