Washington: An attorney for US President Donald Trump has sent a cease-and-desist notice to a former chief adviser to the US President, warning him that legal action is imminent over information he provided to an author of a forthcoming tell-all book.
Trump attorney Charles J. Harder said in a statement that the letter, sent late on Wednesday and cited by Efe news agency on Thursday, states that Steve Bannon's actions in communicating with journalist and author Michael Wolff about a soon-to-be published book that purports to provide an inside peek into Trump's White House "give rise to numerous legal claims".
It said those claims include "defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients (Trump and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.)", Harder's statement read, adding that "legal action is imminent".
The notice was delivered after British daily The Guardian published an extract of Wolff's forthcoming book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House".
In it, Bannon said, among other things, that a June 2016 New York meeting in which Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya sat down with Donald Trump Jr.; the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and his then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who were seeking damaging information on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic".
"You have breached the (confidentiality) Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company (Trump Organisation), disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company," the cease-and-desist letter reads.
On Wednesday, Trump accused Bannon of having "lost his mind" after he was fired from the White House staff, saying that the latter currently has "nothing to do" with him or his presidency.
The President's statement constituted an abrupt break with Bannon, who was a prominent member of his campaign and then became a key strategy adviser after Trump's January 2017 inauguration.
Bannon served in the White House from January until August 2017, when he was fired in a shakeup after John Kelly was appointed Chief of Staff; Bannon subsequently returned as executive chairman of Breitbart News, a Trump-supporting online news outlet.
After Bannon's departure from the White House, he remained an informal adviser frequently consulted by Trump, who continued to publicly defend him.
Trump on Wednesday also lambasted Bannon over the recent special Senate election in Alabama, saying that "Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than 30 years by Republicans".
Bannon was instrumental in controversial GOP candidate Roy Moore's surprise primary win over the Trump-backed establishment hopeful and continued to support him even after he was accused of decades-old sexual misconduct by several women, including individuals who were teenagers when the alleged incidents occurred.
Moore, who Bannon contended would be a loyal supporter of Trump's "America First" agenda, vehemently denied the accusations.
Trump eventually threw his support behind Moore as well, although the candidate went down to a narrow defeat to Democrat Doug Jones.