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White House says Michael Wolff 'made up facts to sell a lot of books'

The book's publication has triggered a firestorm in the White House 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 05 January 2018 16:52 GMT
Michael Wolff "makes up stories to sell books" says White House spokesperson in response to Fire & Fury

The White House - under fire over damaging claims contained in a new publication - has hit out at the author, claiming he “made up a lot of stories to try and sell books”.

The administration has for several days been defending itself against allegations made by Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon, who suggested the President’s son holding of a meeting with a Russian lawyer was “treasonous”, that his daughter was “dumb as a brick” and that Mr Trump contained no “brain trust”. Mr Trump has responded by saying Mr Bannon had lost his mind after he was sacked.

The White House has also tried to shoot the messenger, claiming Michael Wolff, the author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, is unreliable. “This is a guy who made up a lot of stories to try and sell books,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News.

“And more and more people are starting to see that his facts simply don’t add up.”

Ms Sanders said on Friday - the day to which publication of the book had been brought forward - Mr Wolff had spent a lot of time talking to Mr Bannon, Mr Trump’s former top strategist who was fired last August. Yet she claimed people cited in the book had said their words had been misquoted.

“A number of them have said the things that are attributed to them they simply did not say," she said.

“I think that this individual, Michael Wolff, has a long history of not being very credible when it comes to sourcing, when it comes to putting books together.”

The most explosive claims from a new book about Trump's white house

Mr Wolff is a veteran New York journalist with a long track record in the business. He is perhaps most famous for his 1988 profile of media mogul Rupert Murdoch - The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.

On Friday, Mr Wolff defended his book, and insisted he did indeed interview Mr Trump, despite the White House’s assertion that the two men had a single, short telephone conversation that was not related to material for the book.

“I absolutely spoke to the President. Whether he realised it was an interview or not I don’t know,” he said on NBC. “But it certainly was not off the record.”

He said he spoke with Mr Trump for a total of about three hours over the course of the presidential campaign and after the inauguration. He added that he has recordings and notes and remains “absolutely in every way comfortable with everything I’ve reported in this book”.

“My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth,” he said.

Mr Trump tweeted late on Thursday that Mr Wolff’s book was fiction and reliant on fake sources.

“I authorised 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,” he said.

“Look at this guys past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve.”

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