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January 23, 2018
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Fox News anchor Howard Kurtz's new book on the White House, Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War over the Truth, is already being compared to Michael Wolff's tell-all Fire and Fury — and now it even has the backlash to boot, CNN reports. In the book, which Politico describes as "[portraying] the news media … as excessively negative in its treatment of President Donald Trump," Kurtz alleges that New York Times political reporter Jonathan Martin bashed Trump in a phone call with an RNC staffer.

"Donald Trump is racist and a fascist, we all know it, and you are complicit," Martin reportedly said. "By supporting him you're all culpable." The staffer supposedly called Martin later, prompting "another tirade," CNN writes, citing Kurtz' book. That conversation led to an "angry phone call from then-Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer to a Times editor to complain," CNN reports.

Martin, though, says the anecdote is not true — and what's more, that it doesn't even sound believable. "Of course I didn't yell 'you're a racist and a fascist' or 'you are complicit' or 'you're all culpable' at anybody," he told CNN. "Does that sound like me? More to that point, do those sound like real life lines any human being in the news business would use?" Backing up Martin's story, Politico Playbook comments that the quote attributed to him "doesn't sound like something JMart ever would've said."

Kurtz and the book's publisher, Regency, stand by the story, saying it is supported by "sources with direct knowledge of the conversations."

Martin added to Politico: "Howie paraphrased a vague, preposterous-sounding quote to me that I told him sounded ridiculous and not the kind of thing I'd say ... I still have no idea what he or Sean Spicer are talking about.” Jeva Lange

January 3, 2018

The White House issued an official statement from the president of the United States on Wednesday blasting former chief strategist Stephen Bannon after his criticisms surfaced in excerpts from a new White House tell-all by Michael Wolff. "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency," Trump said of his former campaign CEO in the statement. "When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

In quotes published Wednesday (you can read seven of the most eye-popping here), Bannon called a meeting between Trump's campaign aides and a Russian lawyer "treasonous" and claimed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is "all about money laundering." Bannon has nevertheless maintained that since being fired, he is Trump's "wing man outside" the White House.

Trump added that "now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look" and blamed his former campaign CEO for the recent loss of an Alabama Senate seat to a Democrat. Read the full statement below. Jeva Lange