WASHINGTON – The author Michael Wolff, two years ago, paroleed his access to one of President Trump's most powerful advisers, Stephen K. Bannon, to "Fire and Fury", a rolling, back-scene story of Mr. Trump's chaotic white house. The book sold more than four million copies despite lingering questions about its accuracy.
Now Mr. Wolff back with a sequel, "Siege: Trump Under Fire", who seems to be just as heavy on Mr. Bannon. But the author's source left The White House in August 2017 and has seen Mr Trump's circus-like presidency far away. It gives the revelations in Wolff's latest book a different feeling ̵
A spokesman for Robert S. Mueller III, the special adviser in Russia's study, refused Mr. Wolff's claim that mr. Mueller in March 2018 was preparing to accuse the President of preventing justice at three points, including witness manipulation. Andrew Weissmann, but by Mr. Mueller's prosecutors, as Mr Wolff says, led this effort, not even working on the study that focused on obstruction.
In a writer's note, Mr Wolff said his statement to Mr. Mueller's study was based on "internal documents that were given to me by sources close to the special council's office." But in a rare record loss, the special council spokesman, Peter Carr, said on Tuesday that "the documents described do not exist."
Mr. Wolff responded in an interview: "My source is impeccable and I have no doubt about the authenticity and importance of the documents."
The criticism of his work puts Mr. Wolff in a well-known position. The White House broke out after the publication of "Fire and Fury", which calls it "trashy tabloid fiction." A lawyer for Mr. Trump, Charles J. Harder, tried to block his publication and threatened to sue the publisher, Henry Holt & Company, for fraud. Mr. Trump published on Twitter that the book was "full of lies, wrong pictures and sources that didn't exist."
Copies of "Siege" have begun to circulate prior to publication on June 4, and The New York Times received one. But the descriptions in the book, which were first reported on Tuesday by The Guardian, did not evoke the storm of coverage on social media and cable TV that helped drive the sale of Mr. Wolff's last book in the stratosphere.
It may reflect both of the issues of accuracy that hung over "Fire and Fury" and a growing jadedness with internal accounts of Trump White House. Bob Woodward's best-selling book "Fear" and other accounts have depicted a now-known tale of inappropriate schematic helpers and an impulsive, irregular president distracted by his legal struggles and obsessed with the talking heads of Fox News.
For his first book, Mr. Wolff spent time in the West Wing, often at Mr. Bannon's office. He does not claim to have had similar access this time and notes that many of his original sources have left the White House.
In his author's note, Wolff acknowledged that these sources were not credible. "For the author," he said, "interviewing such Janus facials creates a dilemma because it requires, depending on people who lie to tell the truth too – and who can later reject the truth they have told."
. Wolff is open to his dependence on Mr. Bannon, whom he thanks in the awards and describes him as "the most cleareyed interpreter of the Trump phenomenon I know" and "Virgil someone could be lucky to have a guide to a descent into Trumpworld."
Even after Mr. Bannon left the White House, said Mr. Wolff, that he exercised considerable power over the president's agenda. He helped push Mr Trump to declare a national emergency to get funding for his border. Although he quotes Mr. Bannon, who says Mr. Trump is "not the billionaire, he said he was just another scumbag". He was also constantly thinking of coming back to him.
The Mueller study was the center of the book, and Mr. Wolff offers an unusual glimpse into the jury who has heard testimony during a veil of secrecy for months.
"The great lawyers of Mueller were more female than men," he wrote, "more white than black, older rather than younger; they were most characterized by their intensity and focus."
But Mr. Wolff's statement of the alleged complaint contained several enigmatic elements. He cited the title of the draft as "US AMERICA – AGAINST – DONALD J. TRUMP Defendant" while the usual wording would be to use the abbreviation "v." For courage, not "against". All the accusations secured by the specialist advisor use "v."
. The alleged document further states that Mr. Trump could have been charged under three obstructions of the judiciary, known as section 1505, paragraph 1512 and paragraph 1513 of Title 18 of the US Code.
Nevertheless, a representative of Mr Mueller told Mr Trump's legal team that the president was not investigated under section 1505, but only under section 1512, according to a person who was informed of that conversation. Mr. Mueller's representative did not address § 1513, the person said.
This exchange took place after Mr Trump's legal team sent mr. Mueller wrote a letter claiming that Mr. Trump could not have been an obstacle to justice, as the arguments were focused solely on a technical problem set out in the wording of Section 1505. In response, a representative of Mr Mueller's office told Mr Trump's lawyers that they were focused on the wrong law, said the person and should instead look at paragraph 1512.  Wolff portrayed Mr Weissmann as bitterly disappointed by his boss's refusal to accuse the president. But Mr Weissmann focused on the case against Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's campaign president and other defendants. Two other lawyers, James L. Quarles III and Andrew D. Goldstein, were primarily involved in looking at whether Mr. Trump committed obstruction.
On more minor details, Mr. Wolff's book the same frame quality. Mr. Trump referred to one of his lawyers, Ty Cobb, as Cy Young – either consciously or accidentally using the name of another baseball that was great for his lawyer's namesake.
But Mr. Wolff also claims that lawyer William P. Barr considered taking his work as a "payday", expecting that if he managed to avoid both a constitutional crisis and the destruction of the Republican party, "there were many many future millions in it for him. "
Friends of Mr. Barr said the claim was ridiculous. A 69-year-old former company lawyer, Mr. Barr noted more than $ 22 million in assets and income on his financial disclosure form.
"He needed another stint in the government he needed for a root canal," said Jonathan Turley, a long-standing friend and professor at George Washington University Law School.