Let’s stipulate that Michael Wolff is not a 100 percent reliable reporter. The problem (for Trump and his supporters) is that most of what he says is plausible.
.. I interviewed Donald Trump for The Hollywood Reporter in June 2016, and he seemed to have liked — or not disliked — the piece I wrote. “Great cover!” his press assistant, Hope Hicks, emailed me after it came out (it was a picture of a belligerent Trump in mirrored sunglasses). After the election, I proposed to him that I come to the White House and report an inside story for later publication — journalistically, as a fly on the wall — which he seemed to misconstrue as a request for a job. No, I said. I’d like to just watch and write a book. “A book?” he responded, losing interest. “I hear a lot of people want to write books,” he added, clearly not understanding why anybody would. “Do you know Ed Klein?”— author of several virulently anti-Hillary books. “Great guy. I think he should write a book about me.” But sure, Trump seemed to say, knock yourself out.
Since the new White House was often uncertain about what the president meant or did not mean in any given utterance, his non-disapproval became a kind of passport for me to hang around — checking in each week at the Hay-Adams hotel, making appointments with various senior staffers who put my name in the “system,” and then wandering across the street to the White House and plunking myself down, day after day, on a West Wing couch.
.. The West Wing is configured in such a way that the anteroom is quite a thoroughfare — everybody passes by. Assistants — young women in the Trump uniform of short skirts, high boots, long and loose hair
.. Here was a man singularly focused on his own needs for instant gratification, be that a hamburger, a segment on Fox & Friends or an Oval Office photo opp. “I want a win. I want a win. Where’s my win?” he would regularly declaim. He was, in words used by almost every member of the senior staff on repeated occasions, “like a child.”
.. Trump himself stoked constant discord with his daily after-dinner phone calls to his billionaire friends about the disloyalty and incompetence around him. His billionaire friends then shared this with their billionaire friends, creating the endless leaks which the president so furiously railed against.
.. Steve Bannon was openly handicapping a 33.3 percent chance of impeachment, a 33.3 percent chance of resignation in the shadow of the 25th amendment and a 33.3 percent chance that he might limp to the finish line on the strength of liberal arrogance and weakness.
.. 100 percent — came to believe he was incapable of functioning in his job.
.. At Mar-a-Lago, just before the new year, a heavily made-up Trump failed to recognize a succession of old friends.
That gossipy last detail will have set off alarms in intelligence agencies around the world.
.. A “cease and desist” letter on Wolff and his publisher from the president’s lawyer is the best possible thing a writer and a publisher can hope for. It’s pointless, but it makes it look like Wolff inserted his proton torpedo into the Trump White House’s exhaust chute.
Through a long career in real estate and entertainment, Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened lawsuits against authors, journalists and others who angered him, but often has not followed through, and it was unclear whether he would in this case.
.. Mr. Wolff did not reply to a request for comment, but on Wednesday night said by email that he was “wholly comfortable with my numerous sources.”
.. Most presidents have avoided legal confrontations over unflattering publications out of fear of giving them more publicity and promoting sales, but it is not unprecedented. Former President Jimmy Carter, shortly after leaving the White House, threatened to sue The Washington Post over a gossip column item asserting that his administration had bugged Blair House, the government guest quarters, while Nancy and Ronald Reagan stayed there before the 1981 inauguration. The Post retracted the item and Mr. Carter dropped the matter.
.. Charles J. Harder, the president’s lawyer, has represented Mrs. Trump and other high-profile figures in cases against the news media. Based in Beverly Hills, Calif., he won Hulk Hogan’s landmark invasion-of-privacy case against Gawker Media and until recently represented Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul.
.. Mr. Harder threatened to sue The New York Times over an article documenting sexual harassment by Mr. Weinstein. But Mr. Harder no longer represents Mr. Weinstein, and no lawsuit has been filed.
.. In an author’s note, Mr. Wolff writes that many of the accounts that he collected “are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue.” He said he sometimes “let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them,”
.. Mr. Harder cited no specific statements that he judged untrue.
.. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain denied suggesting to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that British intelligence might have spied on Mr. Trump’s campaign.
.. Asked on Thursday for examples of potentially libelous inaccuracies in the book, Ms. Sanders cited only an anecdote in which Mr. Trump seemed not to recognize the name of former Speaker John A. Boehner
In a letter to author Michael Wolff and publisher Henry Holt and Co., Charles Harder said the book contained “numerous false and/or baseless statements,” though it didn’t specify any. He threatened legal action for defamation, invasion of privacy, and other claims.
.. In recent years, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have often threatened legal action and not followed through. In 2016, he threatened to sue the New York Times for publishing articles about his tax returns and about accusations of sexual assault against him. He also threatened to sue the women accusing him of sexual assault, whose allegations he has denied.
.. The enforcement action being weighed against Wells Fargo is a cease-and-desist order, the people familiar with the matter said. Also known as a consent order, it is among an array of formal enforcement proceedings the OCC can take when it determines that deficiencies in a bank’s operations are severe, uncorrected, unsafe or unsound... Last year’s disclosure about the unauthorized accounts led the OCC to issue Wells Fargo a cease-and-desist order. The regulator levied penalties of $35 million in that September 2016 action.. Several weeks after that, the OCC placed additional limitations on the bank, including preventing so-called golden parachutes for departing executives... In the past five years, Wells Fargo has received four new cease-and-desist orders from the Comptroller of the Currency; in two of those actions, including the one involving the opening of unrequested accounts, the regulator assessed a total of $55 million in penalties.