Trump Regime

Trump Issues Impotent and Illegal Threats Over Book Quotes

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Excerpts from journalist Michael Wolff's upcoming book Fire and Fury hit the web yesterday and Trump has now responded in a blustery manner that we've seen before, but there's a key difference in this case.

Trump's lawyers have threatened his former chief strategist Steve Bannon for violating an non-disclosure agreement by talking to Wolff.

The letter threatens Bannon with monetary claims against him for violating the agreement, although the letter does not say when such an agreement went into effect and whether it explicitly applies to disclosures made by Bannon while he worked at the White House. The NDA Harder quotes warns against using any confidential information that would be "detrimental to the Company, Mr. Trump, any Family Member, any Trump Company or any Family Member Company."

Trump's lawyers have also sent a cease and desist letter to Michael Wolff and his publisher, which is a bigger story.

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.

We've seen these legal threats from Trump before, but that was different. When Trump threatened the women who've accused him of sexual assault or the New York Times for reporting it, Trump was still a private citizen. He is not a private citizen now.

Trump threatening Michael Wolff and his publisher is a direct attack on the First Amendment and if he ever actually follows through on it, it would be thrown out of the first federal court that looks at it. Any potential non-disclosure agreement that any member of Trump's staff have signed would also be null in a federal court room.

It seems extremely unlikely Trump will follow through on his threat to Wolff's publisher. Doing so would be unconstitutional and proving that his book is libelous would require proving that it's inaccurate.

I believe we have plenty of reason to believe the salacious quotes in Wolff's book are entirely accurate or very close to it.

Trump's panicked threats appear to be an admission that the quotes and claims are true. Furthermore, Wolff was granted special access to the White House for over six months. Wolff's book contains quotes from conversations that he personally witnessed and, according to Axios, Wolff recorded some of his interviews and conversations on tape including the interview with Bannon in which he referred to Donald Trump Jr's meeting with the Russians as "treasonous."

The White House issued a new policy just this morning banning personal electronic devices from the White House.

As for the book itself, the excerpts available right now don't necessarily tell us anything we didn't already know except it does make the Trump regime look like an even bigger shitshow than we know it be. It also reveals that virtually everyone close to Trump thinks he's an idiotic tool, but I feel like we knew that. Nearly everyone that's a member of the Trump regime is in it for their own nefarious reasons, not because they believe in Trump.

  • mnpollio

    I have a hunch the book will not tell us anything we did not already know about these hateful trolls in the Trumpverse and their man-baby god/king. A bit like that Scott McClellan “bombshell” book that basically told us we were right in thinking that George W. Bush and Cheney were liars – just confirmation of stuff we knew. That said, the fact that it is sending Trump and his minions into colon-exploding tantrums is enough for me to want to see it published.

  • muselet

    I am not a lawyer, so take the following with whatever amount of salt you find appropriate (two or three hogsheads should do the trick).

    If Steve Bannon signed a valid nondisclosure agreement before he joined the campaign (and, later, the administration), it seems to me Donald Trump’s lawyers could seek to enforce it. They probably won’t, in large part because their client is unlikely to be happy with what might be revealed during the discovery process.

    As for the cease and desist letter, Henry Holt and Co and Michael Wolff have little to worry about, assuming Trump’s lawyers are dumb enough to pursue the issue beyond chest-thumping.

    And while the idea of banning personal electronic devices from the West Wing has been rattling around inside the administration since the election, the timing is hilarious. Does the ban include older-model Samsung phones, I wonder?

    –alopecia

    • Draxiar

      I have to wonder if an NDA is worth protecting if greater charges come down on those that stupidly choose to sign it. I get that no one wants to be the rat, per se, but jeepers Christmas…is trump really worth defending? They have to know he wouldn’t lift is little short fingers to help them.

      • muselet

        Same disclaimer as before, same amount of salt recommended.

        The operative word in my comment is “valid.” An NDA can’t be used to prevent a signer from giving evidence in a criminal matter (or, I assume, a civil action).

        If Donald Trump’s lawyers actually go after Steve Bannon, I’d be surprised. I’d also buy as much popcorn as my budget would allow, because that particular fight would be great fun to watch.

        –alopecia

  • ninjaf

    Where are those supposed First Amendment trolls who love to jump on people’s personal pages, insult the “host,” and then claim that their free speech rights have been violated? Oh, right…they don’t really know what the First Amendment is actually about.

    • Draxiar

      Yep…I’m waiting for the Oathkeepers to come repelling in like the SWAT Team at the end of the Blues Brothers to protect against the ne’er-do-wells!

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