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Trump Allies Defend Him Against Book's Claims

A stack of reserved "Fire and Fury" books by writer Michael Wolff sit on a shelf in a bookstore in Richmond, Va., Jan. 5, 2018.
A stack of reserved "Fire and Fury" books by writer Michael Wolff sit on a shelf in a bookstore in Richmond, Va., Jan. 5, 2018.

The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

2:10 a.m.

Trump administration officials and allies are rallying to the president’s defense, trying to contain the fallout from an explosive new book that questions Trump’s fitness for office.

Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” portrays the 45th president as way over his head.

Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is also trying to make amends for comments that appeared in the book.

9:20 p.m.

The website WikiLeaks has tweeted a link to the text of the new book critical of President Donald Trump that has angered the president, his staff and his allies.

An electronic image of the text of author Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” appeared online Sunday, two days after its release.

Posting the text of a book without permission would violate copyright restrictions and potentially damage sales. Yet, hours after WikiLeaks tweeted the link, “Fire and Fury” remained No. 1 on Amazon’s lists of hardcover and ebook bestsellers.

The book portrays a president who doesn’t understand the weight of his office and whose own aides question his competence. Trump has called it a “Fake Book” and its author “totally discredited.” Aides have publicly rejected the book’s premise.

11:55 a.m.

Steve Bannon is trying to make amends.

President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist has issued a statement to the news site Axios reaffirming his support for the president and praising Trump’s eldest son.

Bannon says Donald Trump Jr. “is both a patriot and a good man” and has been “relentless in his advocacy for his father.”

Bannon infuriated Trump with comments he made to author Michael Wolff describing a meeting between Trump Jr., senior campaign aides and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

But Bannon says his description was aimed at former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, not Trump’s son.

Bannon says he regrets that his “delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr. has diverted attention” from Trump’s achievement.

And he says his support for the president is “unwavering.”

11:35 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’s focused on criticizing President Donald Trump’s policies rather than assessing Trump’s mental fitness to handle the presidency.

The Vermont lawmaker says he finds many of Trump’s statements “offensive” but says he’s more bothered by what he describes as Trump’s broken promises to working-class Americans.

Sanders cites Trump’s tax overhaul that he says disproportionately benefits the rich, as well as efforts to repeal the Obama-era health law.

Sanders says: “I worry about him being a pathological liar.”

10:15 a.m.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY’-oh) gives President Donald Trump his regular intelligence briefings, and says Trump is fully engaged, understands complex issues and asks difficult questions.

Pompeo tells “Fox News Sunday” that Trump is “completely fit” to be commander in chief and that it’s “ludicrous” he’s being asked such a question. But the issue has arisen as a result of a new book that’s raising just that question.

The CIA chief says those kind of questions are coming from “people who just have not accepted the fact that President Trump is the United States president and I’m sorry for them and that.”

9:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s chief policy adviser is blasting an unflattering new book that has raised new questions about his boss’s fitness for office.

Aide Stephen Miller tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that the book is — in Miller’s words — “nothing but a pile of trash through and through.”

And Miller says it’s “tragic and unfortunate” that former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who’s quoted at length in the book, would make what Miller calls “grotesque comments” that are out of step with reality.

The CNN interview quickly grew heated. Miller criticized CNN’s coverage, and CNN host Jake Tapper pressed Miller to answer his questions.

Tapper abruptly ended the interview, calling Miller “obsequious” and accusing Miller of wasting his viewers’ time.

2:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is plainly agitated by a new book that portrays him as dysfunctional.

He’s bemoaning what he called the country’s “very weak” libel laws and making the case that he’s actually “really smart,” as he put it, and indeed, a “very stable genius.”

Trump is pushing back against “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” The book by Michael Wolff paints him as a leader who doesn’t understand the weight of his office and whose competence is questioned by aides.

Trump defended his mental competence in a series of tweets Saturday. Later he addressed reporters, and said he went to “the best colleges,” made billions, succeeded on TV and became president in his first try.