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Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Trump is so furious about Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury," that some aides are just trying to avoid him. Key aides tried to talk him out of legal threats against the author and Steve Bannon, the key source.

Lawyers laughed: Does Trump really want to give discovery to Michael Wolff?

  • But Trump was insistent on following a tactic he frequently used in business — rattling cages with lawyers' letters that resulted in no actual legal action.
  • His demand that the publisher withhold the book (POTUS needs to see "The Post," with its takeaway on prior restraint) was a publisher's impossible dream that had the predictable effect: more publicity and presales.
  • The publisher issued this statement: "Henry Holt confirms that we received a cease and desist letter from an attorney for President Trump. We see 'Fire and Fury' as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse, and are proceeding with the publication of the book."
  • Not only that: "Due to unprecedented demand, we are moving the on-sale date for all formats ... to [today] from the [previous] on-sale date of [next] Tuesday."
  • In D.C., Kramerbooks started selling copies at midnight.

Below is a screenshot of a letter from Trump's lawyer to Wolff and Steve Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt:

P.S. WashPost Style front, "Breitbart may see a Bannon backlash," by Paul Farhi:

  • "The website and its chairman found themselves isolated ... after Bannon's comments ... caused a backlash inside the White House, among rival conservative media outlets and among Trump supporters."
  • "Bannon's comments ... prompted a key backer, the billionaire Mercer family, to withdraw financial support for Bannon's political activities. So far, however, the Mercers have not signaled that they will walk away from Breitbart itself, which would be a crippling blow."

Be smart: Key conservatives tell us Bannon could wind up being ousted from Breitbart.

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Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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