Trump author defends book as president claims it is ‘lies’

Advisers ‘question president’s intelligence and fitness for office’, insists Michael Wolff

The author of a damning book on the Donald Trump presidency has defended his work despite the US president's suggestion that it is "full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist".

People queued up in book shops across America to buy Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which was released on Friday. The book claims that many people close to the president believed his "mental powers were slipping", noting in particular his tendency to repeat expressions in swift succession.

In an interview, the author stood by his work, claiming Mr Trump’s “senior advisers, family members, every single one of them, questions his intelligence and fitness for office”.

The book's publication this week has prompted a furious response from the White House. In a series of tweets, Mr Trump denied ever speaking to Mr Wolff for the book and lashed out at his one-time adviser Steve Bannon, dubbing him "sloppy Steve".



But while several analysts, as well as Trump allies, questioned the veracity of some of Mr Wolff’s claims, the controversy has increased pressure on Mr Trump, particularly in relation to comments attributed to Bannon about the Russia investigation.

As the controversy promised to overshadow a scheduled meeting between the US president and the Republican party leadership in Camp David this weekend, fresh allegations emerged in US media on Friday about the president’s attempts to dissuade attorney general Jeff Sessions from stepping aside from the Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, there were reports that the Department of Justice has reopened an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, despite the case being closed in 2016. Mr Trump, who led calls to “lock up” Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign, has renewed his attacks on his former presidential rival in recent months, urging the FBI to investigate the former secretary of state. Democrats dismissed the apparent re-opening of the case as politically-motivated.

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent