Michael Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, was released Friday morning, and there are a lot of questions about the contents. The book makes some forceful claims, from Trump’s sex life to his relationship with Melania to his skill and knowledge (or lack thereof) in political matters. Donald Trump, along with his son, Donald Trump Jr., says Fire and Fury is full of lies. However, some details have already been corroborated, publicly, by people with inside information.
One of the first stories Michael Wolf shares in Fire and Fury is about a private dinner party with only six guests, in which Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes discussed Trump. In the conversation, Bannon is less than complimentary of Trump, and Ailes is skeptical about him.
The immediate criticism to arise was that Wolff couldn’t possibly know what was said at a private party. However, as Variety reveals, Wolff played host, holding the dinner at his own home, and thus giving him direct access to the exchange.
While that serves as evidence that Wolff had access, it doesn’t necessarily corroborate the details described in Fire and Fury. However, another guest at that event does. Janice Min tweeted Thursday to affirm that everything she’s seen so far from the book is “absolutely accurate.”
So I was one of the 6 guests at the Bannon-Ailes dinner party in January 2017 and every word I've seen from the book about it is absolutely accurate. It was an astonishing night... pic.twitter.com/I4vgOrHOYb— Janice Min (@janicemin) January 4, 2018
Trump Jr. tweeted Friday, as America began paging through their copies of the just-released Fire and Fury, to share a Politico story addressing Wolff’s credibility.
Today you don’t need credibility as long as you’re bashing @realDonaldTrump. The author’s peers and former publisher acknowledge a history of questionable credibility but because the target is Trump fiction quickly becomes fact. https://t.co/YHKTFiclZO— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 5, 2018
Specifically, the article addresses questionable items from Fire and Fury, such as Trump appearing not to know who John Boehner was in a conversation, as well as Wolff’s history. It covers a characterization of Wolff as someone who creates stories from imagination and that he has been accused of taking statements that were supposed to be off the record and publishing them anyway.
Trump, too, has indicated the scenes described in Fire and Fury are ‘phony.’
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
Well, now that collusion with Russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with Hillary Clinton and the FBI/Russia, the Fake News Media (Mainstream) and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. They should try winning an election. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
To the assertion that Fire and Fury could be packed with quotes Wolff made up, and stories he invented, Axios AM has a response. The Fire and Fury author has recordings. It’s not clear whether Wolff released these to Henry Holt & Co., the publisher of Fire and Fury, or is keeping them for his own records, but if officials deny quotes on the record, he is apparently ready to back them up.
As for the narrative that the Fire and Fury author used off-the-record information, he addresses that himself in a note at the beginning of his book. He doesn’t admit to publishing off-the-record material (though he does say he relies on it) but says that the Trump White House was a failure at laying down rules for what could be used and that much of what was off the record became public or well-known before his book was published.
“These challenges have included dealing with off the record or deep background material that was casually put on the record. Sources who provided accounts in confidence and subsequently shared them widely, as though liberated by their first utterances, a frequent inattention to setting any parameter of the use of a conversation, a source’s views being so well-known and widely shared that it would be risible not to credit them, and the almost samizdat sharing or gobsmacked retelling of otherwise private and deep background conversations, and everywhere in this story is the President’s own constant tireless uncontrolled voice public and private shared by others on a daily basis, sometimes virtually as he utters it.”
The note also addresses Trump’s assertion he denied the Fire and Fury author access. Wolff says that initially, Trump encouraged him to take a position as a ‘fly on the wall’ but that this became less formal quickly, with no one welcoming him and no one sending him away.
While it’s impossible to truly know exactly what was said (short of Wolff releasing a recording), according to Politico, Sarah Huckabee Sanders does report that Wolff had one 5-7 minute conversation with Trump, and she says the White House will not release visitor logs to prove he didn’t spend more time in the White House.
Sanders further says that the Fire and Fury author had ‘just over a dozen interactions’ with White House officials, despite his possession of many more hours of recorded conversations.
The Washington Examiner also cites members of the press who saw Wolff at the White House multiple times, with a visitor badge giving him access to the West Wing, rather than a mere press access pass.
While there’s no confirming every detail in the book, and even recordings only prove that the individual being interviewed did say what was quoted, not that the statement is necessarily true, at this point, there is some corroboration coming out for Michael Wolf’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, at least on the broad scale.