Michael Wolff, author of a new bombshell book on the Trump White House, said Friday he spent three hours with the president during the 2016 campaign and in the White House reporting for the book and dismissed the president's claim that he had never spoken to the writer.
"I absolutely spoke to the president, whether he realized it was an interview or not, but it certainly wasn't off the record," Wolff told the “Today” show Friday.
Wolff told Savannah Guthrie he had records and notes of about 200 interviews with people in the White House, but dodged a question on whether he would release tapes of the conversations.
"I have records, I have notes," he replied. "I am certainly in every way comfortable with everything I have reported in this book."
In a full-throated denunciation of the work, Trump tweeted Thursday night that he had authorized "Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book!”
"I never spoke to him for book," Trump wrote. "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 (Bannon)!"
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
In an earlier statement Trump had blasted Bannon, his former White House strategist and a major on-the-record source for the book, saying he had "lost his mind."
As for Trump's charges that the book is not credible, Wolff responded: "My credibility is being question by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has walked the earth."
On Trump's charge that he had not authorized Wolff to spend time at the White House to report on the book, Wolff said, "What was I doing there if he didn't want me to be there?"
The publication date for “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” was moved up to Friday after the president's lawyers sent the publishers a cease-and-desist letter trying to block its release. The publishers said the date was brought forward because of the demand for the book.
Asked his reaction to the president's effort to block the publication, Wolff said it only served to boost sales: "Where do I send the box of chocolates?"
Wolff said Trump is "not only helping me sell books, but helping me prove the point of the book."
The point of the book, Wolff said, was to capture a sense of life in the Trump White House.
He said he not only spoke to Trump, but also to top White House officials who met with the president daily, sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis.
Wolff said he had only one question in mind in writing the book: "What is it like to work for Donald Trump, how can you work for Donald Trump, and how do you feel having worked for Donald Trump?"
In the book, he paints a portrait of a disorganized White House run by a mercurial, uninformed president who is constantly minded by other to keep him on track and focused.
Wolff said his sources repeatedly referred to Trump as "like a child" who "has a need for immediate gratification." Wolff said.
"It is all about him," he said.
Even this week, on the question of sending a cease-and-desist letter to the book publishers, Trump brushed aside in-house advice that he shouldn't do it, Wolff said. "He just insists — he has to be satisfied in the moment."
Wolf, who previously was an op-ed columnist for USA Today, said his sources uniformly disparaged the president's intellectual capacity, calling him a "moron" and an "idiot."
"Actually there is a competition to sort of get to the bottom line of who this man is," Wolff said. "This man does not read, does not listen. He is like a pinball, just shooting off the side."