Ailes never helped Trump with debate prep; their relationship hasn't changed, lawyer says

Roger Ailes in July, 2006.
Fred Prouser | Reuters
Roger Ailes in July, 2006.

A lawyer for Roger Ailes said Wednesday that the former Fox News boss and Donald Trump did not have a falling out, after an earlier report suggested the pair had stopped talking after disagreement about presidential debate preparations.

"He was never an official adviser to Trump, and his status hasn't changed. They have been friends for 35 years. But Roger has never attended any debate prep meetings and has not been advising him on debates," said Susan Estrich, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and counsel for Ailes.

Earlier Wednesday, Vanity Fair reported that Ailes, who left Fox earlier this year amid sexual harassment allegations, had reportedly helped Republican presidential candidate Trump prepare for his debates against Democrat Hillary Clinton. The outlet said the pair had a falling out, with both sides saying debate prep had not gone the way they wanted.

The report came just hours before Wednesday's third presidential debate in Las Vegas, where Trump will try to dig out of a recent polling hole.

The report said that Ailes had concerns that Trump could not focus and that preparation would be a "waste of time," while Trump thought Ailes spent too much prep time telling old stories, according to New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman and Vanity Fair contributing editor Sarah Ellison.

Estrich denied that Ailes had ever advised Trump for the debates.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the full Vanity Fair story here.