Trump Bannon row: Lawyers seek to halt book’s release

Lawyers for US President Donald Trump are seeking to stop the release of a book containing explosive insights into his presidency, US media report.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is due for release on Tuesday. It cites former top aide Steve Bannon as describing a meeting with a group of Russians as “treasonous”.

It also questions Mr Trump’s fitness for office, says Ivanka Trump has presidential ambitions, and claims that his wife was crying on election night.

The White House has disputed the book’s accuracy. Mr Trump earlier said Mr Bannon – who was sacked in August – had “lost his mind” after losing his White House position.

Among a number of explosive statements, Mr Bannon reportedly said, referring to a Trump Tower meeting between top campaign officials and Russia: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

The meeting, which involved Mr Trump’s eldest child Donald Trump Jr, is being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his inquiry into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia.

On his Breitbart radio show on Wednesday, Mr Bannon responded to the president’s criticism by saying he was a “great man” and that he supported him “day in and day out”.

What did the lawyers say?

The legal notice demands that author Michael Wolff and the book’s publisher “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book”.

It says Mr Trump’s lawyers are considering pursuing libel charges, the Washington Post reports.

According to ABC News, it also says that the book “appears to cite no sources for many of its most damaging statements about Mr. Trump” and that many claims are made without citing sources.

Neither Wolff nor the publisher, Henry Holt and Co Inc, have yet responded.

What’s in the book?

Wolff’s forthcoming book makes many startling claims, including that:

  • The Trump team was shocked and horrified by his election win
  • His wife, Melania, was in tears on election night
  • Mr Trump was angry that A-list stars had snubbed his inauguration
  • The new president “found the White House to be vexing and even a little scary”
  • His daughter, Ivanka, had a plan with her husband, Jared Kushner, that she would be “the first woman president”
  • Ivanka Trump mocked her dad’s “comb-over” hairstyle and “often described the mechanics behind it to friends”

The book is reportedly based on more than 200 interviews.

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