The White House has claimed that Michael Wolff, author of the book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House", fabricated the accounts within its pages. But according to the author himself, there are tapes of numerous conversations he had with White House insiders.
The officials in some cases thought they were conducting off-the-record interviews, according to Axios.
Trump released an official statement Wednesday in which the president said former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon had "lost his mind" when he left the administration. Trump also downplayed Bannon's role within the campaign and administration, saying he "only pretends to have influence" and calling Wolff's book "phony".
This is not a first for the president, as it has become a common refrain that members of his campaign or administration caught up in the Mueller investigation were of little consequence:
- George Padapoulos after his arrest:
"White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also tried to deride Papadopoulos as a mere volunteer because he was unpaid. But the fact that Papadopoulos was unpaid puts him in line with many on Trump's campaign and in no way gauges his stature in the operation."
- Paul Manafort after his arrest:
"Paul only worked for me for a few months. Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me. And you’re talking about what Paul was many years ago before I ever heard of him. He worked for me for — what was it, three and a half months?"
Steve had little to do with our historic victory ... 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.