How exactly did journalist Michael Wolff gain exclusive access to the White House and Trump's top staff for his book Fire and Fury?
We know Wolff buttered them up by attacking his colleagues in the media, but Bloomberg reported this morning that Trump himself personally called Wolff after he attacked CNN.
This is one of the most delicious things I've ever read.
Wolff told Trump during the call that he wanted to write a book on the president’s first 100 days in office. Many people want to write books about me, Trump replied -- talk to my staff. Aides Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks listened to Wolff’s pitch in a West Wing meeting the next day, but were noncommittal.
Several aides said Hicks later informally endorsed talking with Wolff as long as they made “positive” comments for the book, which they said Wolff told them would counter the media’s unfair narrative. [...]
Wolff conducted himself with assurance on his visits to the West Wing, playing up his relationship with Trump. Officials recall Wolff telling them he’d known Trump a long time and that the president called him “the best.”
Wolff also lied about titled of his book.
He called it “The Great Transition: The First 100 Days of the Trump Administration.” And in part due to that title, Wolff was able to exploit an inexperienced White House staff who mistakenly believed they could shape the book to the president’s liking.
According to Bloomberg, no one in the White House realized what was actually happening until August after Wolff had already been there for nearly 6 months.
Trump rage-tweeted about Wolff when the book was published, claiming that he was never granted access, but we now know Trump himself got the ball rolling.
As Drew Magary at GQ wrote, sometimes you "need a rat to catch a rat." From this story we can gleam that it's even easier to manipulate Trump than many would guess. That has implications for his entire administration.