Trump Lawyer Seeks to Block Publication of Insider Book on White House

A lawyer representing President Trump sought Thursday to stop the publication of a new behind-the-scenes book about the White House that has already led Trump to angrily decry his former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon. 

The legal notice — addressed to author Michael Wolff and the president of the book’s publisher — said Trump’s lawyers were pursuing possible charges including libel in connection with the forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

The letter by Beverly Hills-based attorney Charles J. Harder demanded the publisher, Henry Holt and Co., “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book” or excerpts and summaries of its contents. The lawyers also seek a full copy of the book as part of their investigation.

The latest twist in the showdown came after lawyers accused Bannon of breaching a confidentiality agreement and Trump denounced his former aide as a self-aggrandizing political charlatan who has “lost his mind.”

It marked an abrupt and furious rupture with the onetime confidant that could have lasting political impact on the November midterms and beyond.

The White House’s sharp public break with Bannon, which came in response to unflattering comments he made about Trump and his family in a new book about his presidency, left the self-fashioned populist alienated from his chief patron and even more isolated in his attempts to remake the Republican Party by backing insurgent candidates.

Late Wednesday, lawyers for Trump sent a cease-and-desist letter to Bannon, arguing he violated the employment agreement he signed with the Trump Organization in numerous ways and also may have defamed the president. They ordered that he stop communicating either confidential and or disparaging information, and preserve all records in preparation for “imminent” legal action.

“You have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company,” read the letter from lawyer Charles Harder.

In a lengthy statement issued in the afternoon, Trump blamed Bannon — his former campaign manager and chief strategist who now heads the conservative Breitbart News website — for everything from leaks to the news media to the upset GOP loss in last month’s Senate race in Alabama. The president cast Bannon as a disgruntled former staffer whose chief goal is to stir up trouble.

“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” the statement said. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker