Wallace: White House Staffers Were Told to 'Play Ball,' Talk to Michael Wolff for Book
"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace said Friday that White House staffers were directed to "play ball" and talk to author Michael Wolff for his tell-all book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."
Questions have now arisen over why Wolff was allowed into the White House and granted so much access for the critical portrayal of the administration.
President Trump said Wolff was not granted access and never spoke to him about the book, accusing the author of making up stories.
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
Wallace said, according to a former senior White House official, that the communications office told staffers early in the administration to "play ball" with Wolff.
"They thought - and there is a real question as to why they thought this - that they were gonna get a fair shake from Michael Wolff. People say 'why did they talk to him on the record?' They were told to," said Wallace, calling it a "tremendous miscalculation."
He said the White House's reaction to the book's release has been all wrong, including threatening to sue the publisher to block it from coming out. The book was then released today, ahead of schedule.
Wallace said this is not the first tell-all to come out about a White House, but in the past, the president and top officials all "ignore it" rather than give it "extra oxygen."
Wolff said on NBC on Friday morning that he "absolutely spoke to the president."
"Whether he realized it was an interview or not, I don't know. But it certainly wasn't off the record," he said.
The book contains many unflattering portrayals of the president and the White House, including some stinging criticism from former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Watch the discussion above and check your local listings for "Fox News Sunday," which will feature CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Corey Lewandowski this weekend.