Author Michael Wolff has moved forward the release of Fire and Fury, the White House tell-all, in response to attempts to stop the book. The book, now available, rose from 48,449th on Amazon’s bestselling books list to the number one spot. When extracts were recently released on the Guardian website, the White House went into a frenzy, claiming it was “filled with false and misleading accounts” and commenting on its lack of credibility. “Aides thought they had more time to prepare for the book’s formal release,” the Washington Post reported. “Trump spent much of the day raging about the book to top aides, officials and advisers said … As he fumed, some aides were still frantically searching for a copy of the book.”
While the author insists that the book is based off of more than 200 interviews, many with senior staff and the President himself, Trump maintains that he had never given Wolff an interview and that the book is largely false. After the extracts were published, attempts were made to stop the distribution. “Henry Holt confirms that we received a cease and desist letter from an attorney for President Trump,” the publishers said in a statement. “We see ‘Fire and Fury’ as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book.”
So far, hundred of thousands of copies have already been shipped. However, even if legal action had been continued, many doubt that it would have held any bite. “Even Donald’s Trump’s lawyers aren’t crazy enough to present this to a court,” Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s speech, privacy and technology project, told the Guardian. “It would be extraordinary and unprecedented for a court to respond to these claims by blocking publication. That is not going to happen…. I think there is an audience of one for these legal threats and that’s Donald Trump.”
There has been a sustained morbid curiosity about the behind-the-scenes life of the most toxic and chaotic White House in history, so these early sales of the book will undoubtedly multiply. Early release is a deft way of curtailing the President’s braying and allowing the work to stand on its own. The public will be allowed to decide whether or not Fire and Fury has credibility, rather than being distracted by the histrionics surrounding its impending release. And, as with everything with this administration, the sooner the public can access the facts, the better.