Michael Wolff, the author of a new tell-all book about President Trump’ first year in office, said he stands by “absolutely everything” he has written and has notes and recordings to back up what was published, he said Friday in a TODAY exclusive interview.
‘Fire and Fury’ author Michael Wolff: ‘I absolutely’ spoke to President Trump
He also dismissed claims Trump made overnight in a tweet that he never spoke to Wolff for the book.
“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,” said Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which was published Friday, four days ahead of the original release date after headlines about the book generated massive interest.
Wolff said he spent about three hours with Trump, both during the campaign and after his inauguration, for his book. But he also spoke to his key aides, “people who spoke to the president on a daily, sometimes minute by minute basis.”
Excerpts of the book leaked earlier this week included blistering comments from Steve Bannon. The former White House chief strategist ripped a June 2016 meeting by Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign aides with Russian officials in June 2016 as “treasonous.” The incendiary comments appear to have caused a deep rift between the former White House chief strategist and Trump.
In a tweet overnight, Trump said he turned down interview requests by Wolff “many times” and called his book “phony” and “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.”
Wolff dismissed the criticism, pointing out it means little because of the person making the censure.
“My creditably is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point,” he said.
Wolff said that, like any good reporter, he has evidence of his work and preparation for the book.
“I have recordings, I have notes, I am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with everything I have reported,” he said, noting that after writing “millions” of words in media columns and other books, “I don’t think there has ever been one correction.”
In his book, Wolff features numerous behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Trump’s White House and also describes numerous questions that Trump aides have about the president’s intelligence and fitness for office. Wolff said those concerns came from “100 percent of the people around him,” including many people who have described him as “a moron, an idiot.”
Trump slams ‘Fire and Fury’ tell-all book as ‘full of lies’
He also said everyone around the president has described him in a similar way.
“The one description that everyone gave, everyone has in common — they all say he is like a child. And what they mean by that he has a need for immediate gratification. It’s all about him,” Wolff told Guthrie, adding shortly later: “This man does not read, does not listen. He’s like a pinball, just shooting off the sides.”
Wolff said the cease-and-desist letter Trump’s lawyers sent Wolff and his publisher to prevent him from releasing the book has only helped to generate massive interest.
“Where do I send the box of chocolates?” he said. “Not only is he helping me sell books but he’s helping me prove the point of the book. This is extraordinary that a president of the United States would try to stop the publication of a book. This has not happened from other presidents, would not even happen from a CEO of a midsize company.”