Trump vents rage as author defends 'Fire and Fury' reporting



WASHINGTON, Frank Fuhrig (dpa) - A new book portraying Donald Trump as uninformed and unfit for the US presidency flew off bookstore shelves in Washington on Friday as author Michael Wolff refuted the president's claim that it was written with "zero" access to the White House.
After Trump's personal lawyer threatened a libel lawsuit and demanded that the book be withheld, publisher Henry Holt and Co accelerated next week's planned released of Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."



The book immediately hit the number one bestseller spot on Amazon. Several shops in and around Washington were sold out Friday within minutes, including one that opened at midnight to release the book.
Wolff told broadcaster NBC News that "100 per cent of the people around him" question Trump's fitness for office and describe him as "a moron, an idiot."
"This man does not read, does not listen," Wolff said. "He's like a pinball just shooting off the sides."
The book describes Trump's 2016 campaign as a publicity stunt not intended to win the presidency.
Trump tweeted late Thursday that he authorized "zero access" in the White House for Wolff, and called the book "phony."
"I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist," Trump said.
Trump's tweet did not outright deny speaking to Wolff at all. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders this week confirmed "one brief conversation" between the president and the author, which "had nothing to do, originally, with the book."
In a live interview Friday, Wolff told NBC News that Trump's legal and social media tirades were "absolutely" helping sell the book. "Where do I send the box of chocolates?" Wolff asked.
Wolff spent some three hours in total speaking to the New York real estate tycoon during the presidential campaign and transition, and in the White House, "so my window into Donald Trump is pretty significant," he said.
"I absolutely spoke to the president. Whether he realized it was an interview or not, I don't know, but it certainly was not off the record."
Wolff said Trump authorized his extensive access in the White House during the early months of 2017. "What was I doing there if he didn't want me to be there?" Wolff asked.
The author seemed to concede on NBC that he might have gained access disingenuously. "I certainly said what was ever necessary to get the story," Wolff said.
"The one description that everyone gave, everyone has in common: They all say he is like a child," Wolff said. "And what they mean by that is he has a need for immediate gratification. It's all about him."
Among the inflammatory passages in "Fire and Fury" is former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's speculation that a 2016 meeting that Trump's son and son-in-law held with Kremlin-linked figures was "treasonous."
Wolff told NBC that he observed a "transformation" in the attitude of Trump's inner circle: Initially, they saw Trump as "an interesting, unique character" with potential for a successful presidency. Over time, they concluded that "he cannot do this job."
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Saturday, January 6th 2018
Frank Fuhrig
           


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