Despite receiving a cease and desist letter from the President’s private attorneys, the publishers of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” went ahead and released copies for sale on Friday. The new book by journalist Michael Wolff has been challenged by White House staff, while President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that it is a “phony book.”

In a Twitter statement, Trump wrote: “I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!” Trump went on to write, “Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.” In advance excerpts from the book, former White House strategist Stephen “Steve” Bannon disparaged the president and family members, prompting Trump to issue an extraordinary statement condemning Bannon. Lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to Bannon, as well.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to discredit the book, saying this week that it is a “complete fantasy” and “full of tabloid gossip.” Sanders also said that the White House had denied multiple requests for Wolff to interview the president.

Wolff was unstinting in his criticisms of the president, telling the “Today” show: “My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point.” In the book excerpt, Bannon suggested that a 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian officials at Trump Tower was “treasonous,” and added that Trump Jr. was injudicious in having the meeting without a lawyer present.

In response, President Trump said Bannon “lost his mind.” “Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books,” Trump added.

Bannon's immediate future is uncertain in the wake of the controversy. On Thursday, principal patron Rebekah Mercer distanced herself from Bannon, while rumors are circulating that Bannon may soon be ejected from his position at Breitbart News.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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