Michael Wolff Trump book defies cease and desist order, bumps up release to Friday
The book was previously scheduled for a Tuesday, Jan. 9 release
After embarrassing and shocking details continued to leak out from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, President Donald Trump reacted on Thursday by demanding via his lawyers that publisher Henry Holt and Co. stop publication of the book and that Wolff publicly apologize. In response, the publisher has defied the order: Fire and Fury‘s publication date has now been bumped up to Friday, EW has confirmed.
“Due to unprecedented demand, we are moving the on-sale date for all formats of Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff, to Friday, January 5, at 9 a.m. EST, from the current on-sale date of Tuesday, January 9,” Henry Holt said in a statement.
The publisher added, “We see Fire and Fury as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book.”
Contents of the book went viral on Wednesday morning when the The Guardian reported that it quoted Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, as claiming Donald Trump, Jr. was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous” for meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election campaign. Trump responded in an official presidential statement, saying Bannon had “lost his mind” when he exited his White House post and threatening legal action against his former political ally.
In the span of 24 hours, from Tuesday to Wednesday afternoon, Fire and Fury jumped 48,448 spots on the Amazon best-seller list to the no. 1 position, where it has remained as of 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday. Excerpts which painted the Trump administration in a negative light continued to surface online after The Guardian‘s initial story, including descriptions of alleged shock among both Donald and Melania Trump following the former’s upset election victory in 2016, and Wolff’s claim that the president’s staff believes the president is “incapable of functioning in his job.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders’ initial response was to dismiss Wolff’s book as “trashy tabloid fiction.” But as the scandal intensified, on Thursday afternoon, Trump’s lawyer sent Henry Holt an 11-page letter demanding that publication be halted, citing claims for libel. “Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book, the article, or any excerpts or summaries of either of them, to any person or entity,” the letter reads according to the New York Times, “and that you issue a full and complete retraction and apology to my client as to all statements made about him in the book and article that lack competent evidentiary support.”
Henry Holt formally moved up the publication date just hours after Trump’s letter was received, per the Times. The book can be pre-ordered here, and will be available Friday.