The publisher of Michael Wolff's explosive new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” delivered a message Monday to the White House: We won't back down.
Leaders of the publishing company said they have no intention of honoring the cease-and-desist order that President Donald Trump's lawyer fired off to derail publication of the book that has roiled Washington and infuriated the commander in chief and his supporters. The book was published by Henry Holt and Co., which is owned by Macmillan Publishing.
“The president is free to call news ‘fake’ and to blast the media,” wrote John Sargent, Macmillan's CEO. “That goes against convention but is not unconstitutional. But a demand to cease and desist publication — a clear effort by the President of the United States to intimidate a publisher in halting publication of an important book on the workings of the government — is an attempt to achieve what is called prior restraint."
“That,” Sargent wrote, “is something that no American court would order, as it is flagrantly unconstitutional.”
Framing this as a First Amendment fight and buttressing his argument with landmark free-speech opinions by Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and Warren Burger, Sargent declared this was “about much more than 'Fire and Fury.'”
“There is no ambiguity here,” he wrote. “This is an underlying principle of our democracy. We cannot stand silent. We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court.”
Sargent said the company was resisting the demand not just on behalf of “Wolff and his book, but also for all authors and their books, now and in the future.”
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