Wolff’s Book Publisher: We Won’t Be Intimidated by Trump

In a memo sent Monday to all employees, Macmillan CEO John Sargent said that the company will not be intimidated by President Trump’s attempts to shut down the publication of Michael Wolff’s controversial book about his first year in office. The president last week sent a cease-and-desist demand to Macmillan, parent company of Fire and Fury publisher Henry Holt. “Our response is firm, as it has to be,” Sargent wrote in his memo. “The president is free to call news ‘fake’ and to blast the media. That goes against convention, but it is not unconstitutional. But a demand to cease and desist publication—a clear effort by the President of the United States to intimidate a publisher into halting publication of an important book on the workings of the government—is an attempt to achieve what is called prior restraint. That is something that no American court would order as it is flagrantly unconstitutional.” Citing several Supreme Court justices’ opinions on free-speech matters, Sargent concluded: “There is no ambiguity here. This is an underlying principle of our democracy. We cannot stand silent. We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court.”