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Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

The publisher of Michael Wolff’s book about President Donald Trump’s administration and campaign, which has drawn rebuttals from the White House and legal threats from Trump’s attorneys, on Thursday announced it is moving the book’s release date up by four days.

“Due to unprecedented demand, we are moving the on-sale date for all formats of ‘Fire and Fury,’ by Michael Wolff, to Friday, January 5, at 9 a.m. ET, from the current on-sale date of Tuesday, January 9,” a spokesperson for Henry Holt & Company told TPM.

The White House attacked Wolff’s book on Wednesday after the Guardian reported on an excerpt from the book featuring alleged quotes by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the book “trashy tabloid fiction” and claimed it was “filled with false and misleading accounts.”

Trump’s attorney Charles Harder on Thursday sent letters to Wolff and Stephen Rubin, the president and publisher at Henry Holt & Company, demanding that they stop printing the book and cease efforts to release it.

Axios on Thursday reported that Wolff has “dozens of hours” recorded from his discussions with Bannon and other members of Trump’s administration, and Wolff suggested that the new release date was a direct result of the White House’s attacks.

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The White House on Thursday welcomed a “special guest” to the briefing podium: a video recording of President Donald Trump.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened the briefing by responding to news that the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday passed 25,000 for the first time.

“The President’s economic agenda of lower taxes, less regulation and more opportunity for all is already paying off,” she said. “With that in mind, we have a message from a special guest that I’d like to share with you that I’ll ask you to tune into the screens and then I’ll continue from there.”

“Thank you for being with us today,” Trump said in what appeared to be a video recording played on two large screens in the briefing room.

He did not take questions.

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The Department of Justice is taking yet another look at former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while in office, the Daily Beast reported on Thursday.

Citing an unnamed “ally” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Daily Beast reported that the Department of Justice plans to examine how much classified information passed through the server, who was responsible for removing that information from a classified environment, which enforcement entities knew about these matters and when.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Clinton of lying about her use of the server. He has also claimed that the investigation into Clinton’s server—overseen by former FBI director James Comey (who Trump fired in May 2017)—was “rigged.”

Comey in July 2016 said Clinton’s use of a private email server was “careless” but said Clinton and her staff engaged in no “intentional misconduct,” and announced that the FBI would not recommend criminal charges against her.

In October 2016, Trump threatened to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s server use again if he won the election.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” he said during the second presidential debate.

“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton replied.

“Because you’d be in jail,” Trump fired back.

Trump has also accused Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin of “disregarding basic security protocols” and recommended “jail!”

A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment to the Daily Beast.

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Michael Wolff recorded his conversations with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and other members of President Donald Trump’s administration, Axios reported on Thursday.

Axios reported that Wolff has “dozens of hours” recorded from his discussions with Bannon, Trump’s former deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh and other officials, some of whom thought they were speaking off the record.

The Guardian on Wednesday reported, citing Wolff’s as-yet unpublished book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” that Bannon said Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

In response, Trump claimed that Bannon “had very little to do” with his election win, and claimed Bannon “lost his mind” after he was “fired” from his White House job.

The White House claimed Wolff’s book, which depicted Trump’s campaign and administration as a chaos-filled endeavor run by self-interested staffers, is “filled with false and misleading accounts” and “trashy tabloid fiction.”

On Thursday, Trump’s attorney Charles Harder sent letters to the author and publisher of Wolff’s book demanding that they stop efforts to print and release the book, which is set to come out next week.

Harder claimed Trump’s legal team is “investigating numerous false and/or baseless statements.” Any recordings of Wolff’s conversations with former White House staffers quoted in his book would throw a wrench into efforts to dispute the allegations it contains.

New York Magazine on Wednesday published an excerpt adapted from Wolff’s book with an explanation of Wolff’s access to top administration officials: Wolff claimed that after Trump was sworn in, he took up “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” at Trump’s own encouragement.

According to New York Magazine, nobody in Trump’s administration was in a position to either sanction or revoke Wolff’s access, which was not restricted and had no conditions attached, and Wolff subsequently conducted more than 200 interviews.

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Unsuccessful Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Thursday said he has “no regrets” about unsuccessfully challenging his Democratic opponent’s victory and refusing to concede the Senate election he lost earlier in December.

“I have no regrets. To God be the glory,” Moore said in a statement sent out more than two weeks after he lost the special election as a Republican in the deep-red state.

Moore claimed that “election fraud experts across the country have agreed that this was a fraudulent election,” though an Alabama judge threw out Moore’s lawsuit alleging voter fraud earlier Thursday afternoon.

Alabama’s canvassing board officially certified Senator-elect Doug Jones (D-AL) on Thursday.

Moore lost the Alabama special Senate election after numerous women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Along with his lawsuit, Moore also submitted an affidavit claiming that he took a polygraph test “within days” of the special election. Moore claimed that its results showed that he “did not know” and did not have “any sexual contact” with three of the women who accused him of misconduct: Leigh Corfman, Beverly Young Nelson and Tina Johnson.

In an interview with AL.com, Johnson responded: “The good Lord knows he did it.”

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President Donald Trump has scheduled his annual physical exam for Jan. 12, 2018, the White House announced on Thursday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who has served as physician to the President since 2013, “will give a readout of the exam after it’s completed.”

Trump’s personal doctor, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein of Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital, in 2015 released a statement claiming that the then-candidate, if elected, would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

In August 2016, Bornstein told NBC News that he wrote the statement in five minutes as a limo waited outside his Upper East Side office.

Several months later, Bornstein said there was “nothing seriously wrong” with Trump, by then the president-elect, but “if something happens to him, then it happens to him.”

“It’s like all the rest of us, no?” he told STAT News. “That’s why we have a vice president and a speaker of the House and a whole line of people. They can just keep dying.”

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Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) earlier this week accused special counsel Robert Mueller of leading a “witch hunt” with his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and called on Mueller to step down.

“Mueller’s investigation is clearly careening far beyond the scope of his original charge,” Biggs wrote Tuesday in an editorial for USA Today.

He accused Mueller of making “blatantly partisan hires” (Mueller was a registered Republican when former President George W. Bush nominated him to lead the FBI). Biggs also claimed that Mueller is using taxpayer resources “to scrutinize anyone and anything that fits into a preconceived notion that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign to ‘fix the election.'”

“Mueller has demonstrated he is incapable of leading a focused, unbiased review of his initial assignment. His witch hunt must end,” Biggs said, echoing President Donald Trump’s frequent criticism of the investigation.

Biggs claimed Mueller has “unilaterally expanded his investigation,” accused his office of “persistent leaks” and “abuse of attorney-client privilege” and claimed the special counsel has a “preference for questionable tactics.”

“If Robert Mueller truly cared for justice, he would voluntarily step aside from his post,” Biggs said, and lamented that Mueller “has repeatedly shown that he has no interest in ending his crusade.”

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Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) on Thursday said former Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s lawsuit to block the state canvassing board from certifying his Democratic opponent’s win will not change anything.

“Will this affect anything? The short answer to that is no,” Merrill said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Moore on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in an Alabama Circuit Court to try to block the state canvassing board from officially declaring Jones the winner of the special Senate election earlier in December.

Moore alleged that irregularities in one Alabama county were suspect and enough to swing the election in Jones’ favor. Moore lost the election after numerous women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct and accused Moore of pursuing them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.

Merrill on Wednesday told the Associated Press that Moore’s lawsuit was “not going to delay certification” for Jones.

On Thursday, he told CNN that Jones “will be certified today at 2 p.m. Eastern time” despite Moore’s lawsuit.

“The governor, Kay Ivey, our attorney general, Steve Marshall, and I will meet in the office of the secretary of state, in the executive office, and we will sign the documents certifying him as the senator for the state of Alabama,” Merrill said. “He will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on the 3rd of January when the Senate returns.”

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President Donald Trump’s legal team plans to cast doubt on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s credibility if he makes any claims implicating members of Trump’s administration, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

The Washington Post reported, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the strategy, that Trump’s legal team would accuse Flynn of lobbing any such accusations in order to protect himself.

In February, after Flynn resigned from the White House, Trump defended Flynn and blamed the media for his resignation.

“What he did wasn’t wrong, what he did in terms of the information he saw,” Trump said at a press conference after Flynn’s resignation. “What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves in this room, were given that information.”

According to the Washington Post, one unnamed source helping to craft Trump’s legal strategy said that Flynn has “said it himself” in pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

“He’s a liar,” the source told the Washington Post.

As part of his guilty plea this month to a charge of lying to the FBI, Flynn agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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Americans named former President Barack Obama the most admired man in the world for the 10th year in a row, making President Donald Trump one of a handful of sitting presidents who have fallen short of that accolade, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Obama narrowly beat current Trump by three percentage points, with 17 percent of respondents naming him the most admired man in the world to Trump’s 14 percent.

According to Gallup, only a few incumbent presidents have not been named the most admired man in the world since the research company began asking the question in 1946. Trump joins a list that includes Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was Americans’ most admired woman in the world, according to the poll. She beat former first lady Michelle Obama by two percentage points, with 9 percent of respondents choosing Clinton. Only one percent of respondents did the same for current first lady Melania Trump.

According to Gallup, Clinton has retained her title for 16 consecutive years, while Obama has retained his for 10 years, including the current year, all eight years he was in office as president and the year he was first elected, in 2008.

Gallup conducted its survey from Dec. 4–11, 2017, via cell phone and landline interviews, from a random sample of 1,049 adults living in the United States, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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