The first copies of a controversial new book that portrays US President Donald Trump as uninformed and unfit for office hit the shelves on Friday.
After being threatened with legal action, publisher Henry Holt accelerated publication of journalist Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by four days.
It has already hit the number 1 bestseller spot on Amazon.
The book describes Trump’s 2016 campaign as a publicity stunt not intended to win the presidency, according to excerpts published Wednesday in New York magazine and the British newspaper The Guardian.
Among its other claims are that former top aide to the president Steve Bannon described a meeting between Trump’s son and Kremlin-linked figures as “treasonous.”
Bannon’s key supporters began to distance themselves from him since excerpts were published, the New York Times reported Thursday.
The family of the hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer — whose daughter Rebekah is a founder of right-wing news company Breitbart which Bannon chairs – seemed to sever ties with the outspoken arch-conservative.
“My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements,” Rebekah Mercer said in a statement reported by the Times.
In a letter on Trump’s behalf published online Thursday by the Washington Post, lawyer Charles Harder alleged that quotes attributed to Bannon and others were libellous.
Trump tweeted late Thursday that Wolff’s had written a “phony 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!” the president wrote.