Trump lawyer demands a halt to publication of tell-all book, 'Fire and Fury,' seeks full retraction and apology

  • A lawyer for President Trump demands an apology and a retraction of material from an explosive new book by Michael Wolff about the White House.
  • "Fire and Fury" features explosive comments from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and potentially embarrassing depictions of life and work in the White House.

A lawyer for President Donald Trump demanded on Thursday that the author and publisher of an explosive new book about the White House stop releasing material and retract and apologize for excerpts already published.

In a letter to journalist Michael Wolff and publisher Henry Holt & Co., lawyer Charles Harder accuses them of publishing "false/baseless statements" about the president. He makes claims including defamation and invasion of privacy related to the new book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."

The letter warned of a possible lawsuit that could lead to "substantial monetary damages and punitive damages."

The book was not set for release until Tuesday, but its publication got moved to Friday due to what Henry Holt called "unprecedented demand." Excerpts published Wednesday featured fiery quotes from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and potentially embarrassing depictions of life and work inside the White House.

"Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the Book, the Article, or any excerpts or summaries of either of them, to any person or entity, and that you issue a full and complete retraction and apology to my client as to all statements made about him in the Book and Article that lack competent evidentiary support Wolff and Henry Holt and Company did not immediately respond to requests for comment," the letter reads.

In a statement, Henry Holt director of publicity Patricia Eisemann confirmed that the company got the cease and desist letter but would go on with publishing the book.

"Henry Holt confirms that we received a cease and desist letter from an attorney for President Trump. We see 'Fire and Fury' as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book," she said.

Harder also sent a cease and desist letter to Bannon over what he called "disparaging" comments about Trump and his family.

The push against Wolff's book marks one of Trump's most significant efforts yet to curb unflattering coverage of him and his family during a first year in office often marked by criticism of the media.

In comments revealed Wednesday, Bannon told Wolff that Donald Trump Jr.'s June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic." He also was quoted as saying there was "zero" chance that then-candidate Trump did not meet with the attendees.

In the book, Bannon also describes Trump's daughter, Ivanka, as "dumb as a brick."

In a remarkable statement Wednesday, Trump declared that his former key advisor had "lost his mind."

The book also claims that Trump did not plan to win the 2016 presidential election, that a spokesman for his legal team quit when he thought the president might have obstructed justice and that Trump's top advisors have called him things like "idiot" and "dumb as s--t."

NBC News has not independently verified many of the explosive passages in the book.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the book "trash," "fraudulent" and "tabloid gossip." She labeled Bannon an employee who "got fired," and Wolff "an author who no one has ever heard of before today."