“Nobody believes this, but I went into this project without a preconception,” Wolff told me, “without an assumption about whether Donald Trump would be successful or would be a failure.” The latest episode of “Cape Up” is a replay of an event we did together on Jan. 18 at the historic Sixth & I synagogue in conjunction with the Politics and Prose bookstore of Washington.
Most of the hour-long conversation focused on his incredible access to the White House and his sources. How was it that he could sit in the West Wing lobby, sometimes for hours on end, without anyone being alarmed. “I had a lot of meetings with Steve [Bannon], and Steve was one of the pillars of this book,” Wolff said, “but I basically met with everybody, and everybody was under the impression that they were supposed to meet with me.
“I think on one level nobody quite knew how this came about and everybody look a little puzzled by things,” said Wolff. “But there was no friction here. Nobody was saying, ‘What are you doing here?’” And once he sat down with White House officials, Wolff said his job was easy. “I don’t ask questions,” Wolff said. “I go in and I sit there and people just start to talk.”
Listen to the podcast to hear Wolff talk about the separate camps in the White House doing battle with each other, his history with Trump around New York City, Trump’s frequent calls to “his kitchen cabinet of billionaires,” his conversation with the president about the rumored “pee tape,” and hear how he teases a shocking “read between the lines” nugget near the end of the book that Bill Maher would do an even better job of getting him to reveal days later.
When I asked him what he would say to the president if he were to call him, Wolff was pretty certain of how the conversation would go. “The thing about talking to Donald Trump is that you never get to say anything to him,” Wolff told the audience. “But I predict that actually what he will say sooner rather than later is that he is responsible for this book, its successful because of him, and he is the real writer of this book.”