Don't believe Michael Wolff's book about Trump if you want the truth

When I worked in the White House, I was viewed as strange by many of my colleagues on Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerTrump found 'SNL' impression of Sessions 'insulting': report GOP's Cramer won't run for ND Senate seat Fox News, CNN say they will not be hiring Stephen Bannon MORE’s press team. Although, as a deputy assistant to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE, I could regularly be seen on the major news networks, standing on the North Lawn of the White House and discussing some aspect of the administration’s latest policy, I maintained a rather different relationship with the press than all of my other politically-appointed colleagues.

Unless we had a preexisting relationship, I didn’t trust any journalist. And if you came from an outlet that belonged to what President Trump calls #FakeNews, I really wasn’t interested in becoming your friend. To those few persistent journalists from news organs like the Washington Post who wouldn’t give up, I was upfront: Sorry, I don’t do “deep background” and I’m using my phone to record this conversation.

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As a result, you’d never see Jim Acosta coming out of my office or Maggie Haberman buying me an espresso at Peet’s around the corner from the West Wing. So, when I met Michael Wolff in Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony Overnight Cybersecurity: House votes to renew NSA spying | Trump tweets spark confusion | Signs Russian hackers are targeting Olympics | Bannon expected to appear before House Intel panel Bannon to appear before House committee for Russia probe: report MORE’ office, where he was waiting to talk to Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony House Intel Dem: Bannon asserted ‘very novel’ definition of executive privilege during testimony The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE, and after I had been told to also speak to him for his book, my attitude was polite but firm: “Thanks but no thanks.” Our brief encounter reinforced my gut feeling that this oleaginous scribe had no interest in being fair and unbiased.

Now, the chattering classes are gripped in an hysterical fever over Wolff’s tell-all book, “Fire and Fury,” with Wolff actually saying that its publication will bring down the duly-elected president of the United States.

I refuse to buy the book of a man who so avowedly holds what, in a previous age, we would have called treasonous goals, but I have read the publicly released excerpts and therefore feel that we can all draw some practical conclusions.

First, Wolff is a partisan self-promoter with credibility issues the likes of which we haven’t seen in a very long time. We are used to Washington being divided, but the contents of this politically-motivated publication are so obviously false that the “swamp” has descended to a new unimaginable low with its release.

Not only is it replete with simple “mistakes,” such as President Trump having no idea who John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE is when they were previously golfing partners, it is built upon assertions that go counter to all that we know about the president.

The most obvious of these is that a man whose reputation for 50 years has been defined around the concept of winning, at everything he set out to do, had no intention of winning the election to the highest office in the land.

(An accusation that, ironically and critically, undermines an additional outrageous assertion that the book is being used to support, that there was in fact “collusion” between team Trump and the Russian government. What is the logic of conspiring with Moscow in an election, if you never intended to win?)

Second, at a time when the credibility of the inappropriately termed “mainstream" media is in tatters, its leading lights and editorial masters are doubling down on their hysterical counterfactual coverage instead of pausing to examine just how professionally and morally bankrupt they have become and what can be done about rebuilding their reputations.

Wolff actually admits on page 10 of his prologue that he cannot verify anything that he details in his book, and that what he has provided is a “notional truth,” the merits of which the reader will have to decide upon by themselves. With this one statement, Wolff has done more to illuminate the political left writ large than any right-wing op-ed writer ever could.

For Wolff and all the Trump haters who buy his book and endorse what is, in practice, a smear campaign, the philosophy is crystal clear: Facts don’t matter. It’s the narrative that is king. Trump must be incompetent or mentally unwell because, well, we want him to be. “Notional truth” is another phrase for my ideological “reality,” a phrase that George Orwell would have recognized instantly.

Lastly, and most important, by tying together a tissue of lies and half-truths which will progressively be debunked in the coming days and weeks, the author of “Fire and Fury” will in fact strengthen the position of President Trump and reinforce the public’s already remarkably high distrust of the media.

When CNN devotes almost all of its domestic coverage to the absurd accusations in the book, and Jake Tapper shuts down White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller on live television, while the Dow breaks 25,000 and young protesters are being killed on the streets of Iran, then the name #FakeNews is no longer just a rhetorical device.

We are just one week into 2018, yet it is clear that those who expected Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE to win the presidential election still do not fully comprehend what happened in America on Nov. 8, 2016. This especially includes the majority of the American press. Their willful blindness and intransigence will empower President Trump, as he proceeds to implement the “Make America Great Again” agenda.

As he does so, I would like to remind my colleagues still inside the White House: You don’t have to be friends with each and every journalist who seeks you out. But if you do engage, remember that smartphones make excellent recording devices.

Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaWhite House aides told to decide whether staying in administration: report Gorka says he was told to cooperate with Wolff book The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE Ph.D. is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War” and former deputy assistant and strategist to President Trump. Follow him on Twitter @SebGorka.