WASHINGTON - The author of an explosive new book that questions President Donald Trumpâ€™s fitness for office on Monday contradicted Steve Bannonâ€™s explanation of comments that had angered his former boss. The book publisher said any effort by Trump to suppress the book would be â€śflagrantly unconstitutional.â€ť
Michael Wolff, author of â€śFire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,â€ť took issue with a Bannon mea culpa issued Sunday, in which Trumpâ€™s former chief strategist sought to make amends for his comments.
In the book, Bannon describes a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., senior campaign aides and a Russian lawyer as â€śtreasonousâ€ť and â€śunpatriotic.â€ť The reference angered the president, who last week lashed out at Bannon, saying he â€ślost his mind.â€ť
Bannon sought to make amends Sunday, saying in statement his description wasnâ€™t aimed at Trumpâ€™s son but at former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
But Wolff told MSNBCâ€™s â€śMorning Joeâ€ť: â€śit was not directed at Manafort, it was directed directly at Don. Jr.â€ť
Meanwhile, the publisher of â€śFire and Furyâ€ť said any efforts to suppress the book are â€śflagrantly unconstitutional.â€ť
In a letter to company employees Monday and shared with The Associated Press, Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote â€śno American courtâ€ť would go along with President Trump should he sue to have â€śFire and Furyâ€ť withdrawn.
Macmillan is the parent organization of Henry Holt and Company, which released the book. A Trump lawyer last week sent a cease and desist letter to the publisher, demanding it be withheld. Holt responded by moving up the release date from Jan. 9 to last Friday.
On Monday, Sargent said the company would send a formal response to Trump later in the day.
Wolffâ€™s book portrays the 45th president as a leader who doesnâ€™t understand the weight of his office and whose competence is questioned by aides. It has sparked outrage in Trumpâ€™s camp, and the presidentâ€™s allies attacked the book in a round of television appearances Sunday.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Trump was â€ścompletely fitâ€ť to lead the country.
â€śThese are from people who just have not accepted the fact that President Trump is the United States president and Iâ€™m sorry for them in that,â€ť Pompeo, who gives Trump his regular intelligence briefings, said on â€śFox News Sunday.â€ť
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said she visits the White House once a week, and â€śno one questions the stability of the president.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m always amazed at the lengths people will go to, to lie for money and for power. This is like taking it to a whole new low,â€ť she told ABCâ€™s â€śThis Week.â€ť
Miller also criticized Bannon, who is quoted extensively in the book, saying it was â€śtragic and unfortunateâ€ť that Bannon â€śwould make these grotesque comments so out of touch with reality and obviously so vindictive.â€ť
Bannon is chairman of Breitbart News, and his comments caused a key Bannon backer, Rebekah Mercer, the billionaire GOP donor and Breitbart co-owner, to distance her family from him.
In his statement Sunday, Bannon praised Trump Jr. as â€śboth a patriot and a good man.â€ť
â€śI regret that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the presidentâ€™s historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency,â€ť Bannon said in the statement, which was first obtained by the news site Axios.
Millerâ€™s interview on CNNâ€™s â€śState of the Unionâ€ť quickly grew heated, with Miller criticizing CNNâ€™s coverage and moderator Jake Tapper accusing Miller of speaking to an audience of one: his boss.
Tapper abruptly ended the interview, saying: â€śI think Iâ€™ve wasted enough of my viewersâ€™ time.â€ť
Soon after, Trump tweeted: â€śJake Tapper of Fake News CNN just got destroyed in his interview with Stephen Miller of the Trump Administration. Watch the hatred and unfairness of this CNN flunky!â€ť
Trump took the extraordinary step Saturday of using Twitter to defend his fitness for office, insisting he is â€ślike, really smartâ€ť and, indeed, a â€śvery stable genius.â€ť He pressed the case again on Sunday, tweeting: â€śIâ€™ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author.â€ť
On Sunday, two days after the bookâ€™s release, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to an electronic image of the text. Posting the text of a book without permission would violate copyright restrictions and potentially damage sales. Yet, hours after WikiLeaks tweeted the link, â€śFire and Furyâ€ť remained No. 1 on Amazonâ€™s lists of hardcover and ebook bestsellers.