‘Fire and Fury’ Published Four Days Early After Trump Threatens Lawsuit (Video)

What do you do if you’ve just written this scathing tell-all book about a dysfunctional presidential administration and a lawyer representing the sitting President of the United States demands your publisher withhold releasing it?

If the President of the United States is one Donald John Trump, you move up the publication date four days.

A spokeswoman for Henry Holt and Co. publishing told CNN Thursday afternoon:

 “Henry Holt confirms that we received a cease and desist letter from an attorney for President Trump. We see ‘Fire and Fury‘ as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book. Due to unprecedented demand, we are moving the on-sale date for all formats of ‘Fire and Fury,’ by Michael Wolff, to Friday, January 5, at 9 a.m. ET, from the current on-sale date of Tuesday, January 9. “

Holt’s decision came only hours after President Trump’s personal attorney, Charles Harder, sent the publishing firm a cease-and-desist letter.

In response, author Michael Wolff tweeted:

“Here we go. You can buy it (and read it) tomorrow. Thank you, Mr. President.”

Scintillating excerpts of Wolff’s book have been circulating this week in New York magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, and GQ, creating an uproar from the Oval Office.

Trump called it a “work of fiction.” So did White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, describing the book as “some trash” filled with “mistake after mistake.”

On Saturday, Trump stated from Camp David:

“I think it’s a disgrace that somebody’s able to have something, do something like that. The libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were strong, it would be very helpful.”

Trump challenges the inside information Michael Wolff had access to, claiming Wolff merely conducted a “quick interview a long time ago” for an article.

This contradicts other White House officials, though, who allowed Wolff significant access to the West Wing last year.

Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School emeritus professor, stated:

“[Trump’s libel lawsuit would be a] terrible mistake, a nonstarter no reasonable lawyer would recommend.”

He cites difficulty public figures have winning libel suits.

Trump would need to prove Wolff and Holt were aware former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s statements in the book, and those of others, are false.

They would also have to prove Wolff and Holt acted with reckless disregard for statements’ veracity.

Among other things, Bannon is quoted in Wolff’s book as describing “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Russians who promised damning information about Hillary Clinton.

Thursday, Lawrence O’Donnell explained on MSNBC why only someone like Trump would threaten to sue over a book.

O’Donnell said:

“The cease and desist letter by Donald Trump’s lawyers is the most legally empty such letter I have ever read. The most naive question of the day has been, will Donald Trump really sue Steve Bannon or Michael Wolff or the publisher? Speaking as someone who Donald Trump has threatened to sue, I can report to America with 100% confidence that Donald Trump will not dare to sue Michael Wolff or the publisher or Steve Bannon. The president’s empty legal threat was greeted by the publisher’s announcement that they’re speeding up the publication of the book so that it will be available for you to purchase tomorrow instead of next week.”

By Thursday, pre-orders for Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House had already put it at the #1 spot on Amazon.

Go get your copy today.

Happy reading!

Image credit: cbs58.com


Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, and Medium.