The war between President Donald Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon has taken a new, and very surprising, twist.
On Thursday morning it was announced that the attorney representing the president had sent a letter to the publisher of the book, in which Bannon accused Donald Trump Jr. of treason, to stop publication, according to the Washington Post who has seen a copy of the letter.
The legal notice — addressed to author Michael Wolff and the president of the book’s publisher — said Trump’s lawyers were pursuing possible charges including libel in connection with the forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
The letter by Beverly Hills-based attorney Charles J. Harder demanded the publisher, Henry Holt and Co., “immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book” or excerpts and summaries of its contents. The lawyers also seek a full copy of the book as part of their investigation.
The latest twist in the showdown came after lawyers accused Bannon of breaching a confidentiality agreement and Trump denounced his former aide as a self-aggrandizing political charlatan who has “lost his mind.”
The letter comes after a fiery back and forth on Wednesday that started with the revelation that Bannon brutalized Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the president himself, and others in the campaign, in the book.
“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers,” Bannon said. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad sh—, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Quickly after the harsh quotes from Bannon were made public, the president fired back with a scathing statement of his own claiming that Bannon “lost his mind.”
“Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party,” he wrote.
“Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country,” he wrote.
In the hours that followed, Harder, the president’s attorney, sent a cease and desist letter to the publisher and Bannon.
“On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent,” it read.
The separate letter to Bannon read, in part, “You [Bannon] have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company, knowing that they would be included in Mr. Wolff’s book and publicity surrounding the marketing and sale of his book.”
In the letter Thursday, Harder explained that “We are investigating numerous false and/or baseless statements that you have made about Mr. Trump.”
The letter can be read in full here.