Jake Tapper Slams Trump for Threatening to Sue Author Because Book 'Hurts His Feelings'
On Thursday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called out Michael Wolff's new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House during her briefing. President Donald Trump has threatened a libel lawsuit against Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt. There’s just one problem: The White House cooperated with the book’s author and the book’s publication.
Trump’s cease-and-desist letter doesn’t exactly hold water, according to CNN’s Jake Tapper, because there were some 200 interviews with people in the White House. Wolff was given free rein to conduct interviews for the book. Now, Trump’s attacks on the book have not only given it an enormous amount of free media, but have also resulted in the publisher changing the release date so the book will be released today instead of the following week.
“The time to make that assumption was before you agreed to cooperate,” Tapper said about Sanders’ attack on Wolff. “It’s worth pointing out that Michael Wolff spent months listening and taking notes and recording and watching from West Wing couches at the invitation of — or at least, as he says, the non-disapproval of — President Trump himself.”
Trump has also threatened to sue Steve Bannon as well, who made some notably disparaging comments in the book. The problem with a lawsuit, however, is that Trump will be forced to give a deposition in which a lawyer could do discovery on any topic in the book. The lawsuit could ultimately prove how accurate Wolff's claims and the comments of his sources actually are.
“Wolff and publisher are in good company,” Tapper said about the lawsuit. Trump has “threatened to sue CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Associated Press, comedian Tom Arnold, a 92-year-old Scottish widow, David Cay Johnston, Tony Schwartz, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), oh, and all of the women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault. And that’s just a small sampling, and those are just lawsuits because of criticisms, to say nothing of his business deals.”
Unless Trump intends to round up every person who purchased the book and hold a book burning, nothing will stop Fire and Fury's release.
“Lastly, let’s all take a step back here,” Tapper said. “It’s remarkable that the president of the United States is in any way trying to stop publication of a book, breaching the right of free speech and freedom of the press that we have in this country just because said speech, to be candid, hurts his feelings. Not for a national security reason, in fact, from what we know about the president’s furious response to this book, it seems that the quotes from Steve Bannon are what has upset him the most. The quotes.”
Watch the full commentary below: