January 5, 2018

SO THERE’S THIS NEW MICHAEL WOLFF BOOK OUT, AND IT’S VERY UNFLATTERING TO TRUMP. And yet Trump had his lawyers send a cease-and-desist letter to the publisher, guaranteeing it huge attention. And as a result of some of the stuff in the book, he’s now in a WWE-like shouting match with Steve Bannon, who’s out.

So what’s going on? Well, unless you’re dumb enough to believe the Gorilla Channel parody, you’ve got to know that Trump understands PR, and must have known that the cease-and-desist letter would call attention to the book and give it credibility. So why do that?

Pure speculation here — as rank as speculating that the Clintons’ mysterious house fire was somehow connected to the near-simultaneous announcement of a new FBI investigation — but what if (as Jack Goldsmith suggests) Trump has never been the focus of Mueller’s investigation, and now it’s zeroing in on Bannon? The feud over the book establishes lots of space between Trump and Bannon, and if Bannon’s indicted Trump can say “hey we fired him already.” And since everyone seems to think Bannon’s the main source for Wolff, an indictment helps discredit the book. Happily for Wolff, not until after he’s hit the bestseller list. Bonus point: Trump and Wolff seem to have been pretty friendly for quite a while.

As I say, this is rankest speculation, but stay tuned. Or if you have an alternative explanation as to why Trump would act in a way he knew would boost the book, add it in the comments.

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