Trump Book Author Admits 'Fire and Fury' is 'Full of Lies'
Michael Wolff confesses that large parts of 'exposé' are untrue
As the internet goes into meltdown over the recent anti-Trump book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," the author has confessed that large parts of the "explosive exposé" are actually untrue.
Michael Wolff has admitted in the book's prologue that vast sections are of his work are "full of lies."
He attributed the false parts to "sources that lied to him" and claimed that many of the "insider accounts" he used to piece together "facts" in the story, "flatly contradicted those of others."
After admitting that huge parts of the accounts, meant to lift the lid on of the early days of the Trump Presidency, were, in fact false, Wolff urged readers to "make up their own minds" when reading it.
In response the release of the book, Donald Trump said in a statement on Twitter:
"I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!"
According to Business Insider, several of his sources, he says, were definitely lying to him, while some offered accounts that flatly contradicted those of others.
But some were nonetheless included in the vivid account of the West Wing's workings, in a process, Wolff describes as "allowing the reader to judge" whether the sources' claims are true.
In other cases, the media columnist said, he did use his journalistic judgment and research to arrive at what he describes "a version of events I believe to be true."
Here is the relevant part of the note, from the 10th page of the book's prologue:
"Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. These conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book.
"Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them.In other instances, I have, through a consistency in the accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true."
The book itself, reviewed by Business Insider from a copy acquired prior to its Friday publication, is not always clear about what level of confidence the author has in any particular assertion.
Lengthy, private conversations are reported verbatim, as are difficult-to-ascertain details like what somebody was thinking or how the person felt.
Wolff attributes his book to "more than two hundred interviews" with people including Trump and "most members of his senior staff." According to the news website Axios, Wolff has dozens of hours of tapes to back up what he said.
Claims contained in the book have been widely reported by the media in the US and further afield.
They include assertions that Trump never wanted to be president, that all of his senior staff considered him an idiot, that he tried to lock the Secret Service out of his room, and that he ate at McDonald's to avoid being poisoned.
Business Insider rounded up some more of the most eye-catching claims in this article.
Trump, who sought to block publication of the book but was too late, tweeted Thursday that it was "full of lies, misrepresentations, and sources that don't exist."
I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author. Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2018
The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, described the book as "complete fantasy."
Asked to rebut specific points, she said: "I'm not going to waste my time or the country's time going page by page and talking about a book that is complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip."
Other people mentioned in the book have also disputed claims made about them.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who the book said warned Trump that he may be under surveillance from British spies, issued a statement describing the claim as "categorically absurd" and "simply untrue."
Anna Wintour, the longtime Vogue editor, also dismissed the claim that she lobbied Trump to be his ambassador to the UK as "laughably preposterous."
Other journalists have also urged caution. Some cited Wolff's track record — questions were raised about his 2008 book on Rupert Murdoch — and others compared his claims with their own knowledge of the Trump White House.
On Friday morning, Wolff responded to claims about the accuracy of his book in an interview with NBC's "Today" show.
Host Savannah Guthrie asked him: "You stand by everything in the book? Nothing made up?"
He responded: "Absolutely everything in the book."
Shortly after, he expanded, saying: "I am certainly and absolutely, in every way, comfortable with everything I've reported in this book."
This isn't necessarily at odds with what he said in the author's note, as it allows for the possibility that he was told something untrue and repeated it without realizing, or reached a wrong conclusion when presenting a version of contested events.
I authorized 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. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018