Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House, hasn’t been released yet, but the insider account of the first year of the Trump administration is already dominating the news. The book features more than 200 interviews with the president, his inner circle, and players in and around the administration, and according to Axios, has “dozens of hours” of audio recordings to back up its claims.
Excerpts released from the book, scheduled to be released next week, paint the administration in a negative, dysfunctional light and have garnered a cold reception from the White House. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders described the book as “filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House.” President Trump’s attorneys issued a cease-and-desist request to Henry Holt, the publisher of Wolff’s book, demanding the publisher stop publication and issue an apology to the president for statements the attorneys called defamatory.
Fox News host Sean Hannity has also fired back, releasing a statement on Thursday denying Wolff’s reporting that Hannity provided interview questions to Trump ahead of an Oct. 11 interview on Fox News, which took place prior to rally to promote his tax plan at an Air National Guard hanger in Middletown, Pa.
In a column for the Hollywood Reporter, based on reporting for his book, Wolff wrote that in the fall, White House communications director Hope Hicks convinced the president to cancel an upcoming appearance on 60 Minutes in favor of a more friendly interview spot due “his lapses and repetitions.”
“Instead, the interview went to Fox News’ Sean Hannity who, White House insiders happily explained, was willing to supply the questions beforehand,” Wolff wrote.
Through a spokesperson, Hannity said Wolff’s account was inaccurate, including suggestions that Hannity considered joining the Trump administration.
“I never provided questions ahead of time to President Trump and never said I was going to quit my longtime, successful TV and radio career to work for his administration,” Hannity said.
Hannity is known to be one of Trump’s top supporters in the media. During the interview, Hannity asked softball questions and garnered a large cheer from the crowd by asking, “Is he going to win Pennsylvania in 2020, too?”
For his part, Trump fawned over Hannity’s support and even brought up the Fox News host’s television ratings.
“You have been so great and I’m proud of you,” Trump said before turning to the audience. “Have you seen his ratings? What you are doing to your competition is incredible. Number one, and I’m very proud of you, and it’s an honor to be on your show.”
Here’s the full interview:
“Any real journalist would be embarrassed by that moment,” media critic Eric Wemple wrote in the Washington Post. “Hannity? Nah.”
In a separate excerpt from the book, published by CQ, Wolff wrote that Hannity was prepared to join Bill O’Reilly and former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes as part of a new conservative network Ailes was planning to launch prior to his death in May.
According to Wolff, Ailes was also trying to recruit Steve Bannon to join the network as an extension of Breitbart, which reaches a much younger right-wing audience than Fox News. But Bannon reportedly declined in favor of attempting to keep his job in the White House, from which he was ultimately ousted.