New York CNN Business  — 

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

When the commander-in-chief calls crimes committed by his friends a “hoax…” When he spreads bogus fears about voter fraud… When he lies about something as banal as golfing… When his deception about the path of a hurricane sparks an I.G. probe… When a single WH statement contains 12 lies and falsehoods

Well, then we’re clearly in the middle of a truth emergency.

My monologue on Sunday’s CNN program contained four minutes of examples, and it could have been twice the length. Here’s another sign: When a former member of the president’s inner circle is blocked from writing a book…

A tale of two books

Michael Cohen’s sudden return to prison is under scrutiny because his lawyers say the dispute centered on “restrictions in paperwork designed to prevent him from finishing a book about the president.”

“No standard probation forms include language related to media contacts,” CNN’s David Shortell and Mark Morales report. But the form presented to Cohen seemed to be tailored specifically to him. CNN has obtained a copy. This has all the appearances of an attempt to stifle Cohen’s right to speak freely about his work for President Trump.

This is all the more noteworthy because another Trump tell-all, by the president’s niece Mary, is coming out on Tuesday. And it is a doozy. Ted Boutrous, who is representing Mary in court, is sounding the alarm about the Cohen situation now:

“This is deeply, deeply troubling,” Boutrous tweeted, “from a First Amendment perspective and from a rule of law perspective, even more so as Roger Stone goes free and Michael Flynn is about to.”

Are Michael Cohen’s First Amendment rights being violated?

Obviously you don’t have to like Cohen – plenty of people don’t – to stand up for his right to speak. Just Security’s Ryan Goodman reached out to many of America’s top First Amendment law experts for their reactions to the Cohen case, and they were “almost uniform in decrying the condition placed on Cohen by the Bureau of Prisons, an agency under William Barr’s Justice Department.” The word “unconstitutional” came up half a dozen times. Read on…

Now, back to the other book…

Will Mary Trump be allowed to speak?

Her book “Too Much and Never Enough” has now surpassed “The Room Where It Happened” to be the No. 1 nonfiction seller of the year on Amazon’s list.

But right now she is barred from giving any interviews or otherwise speaking publicly, since the restraining order sought by President Trump’s brother Robert is still in place. The judge overseeing the case is expected to issue a ruling sometime on Monday. Maybe she will be able to speak on publication day.

Back to the truth emergency now…

In Mary Trump’s telling, “truth” is a concept to be conquered. She writes that Donald “easily sacrificed” the truth, “especially if a lie made the story sound better.” Later on, writing of the coronavirus crisis, she asserts that he feared the reality of the virus, but “his failure to face the truth has inevitably led to massive failure anyway…”

On Sunday’s “Reliable Sources,” I spoke with Tony Schwartz about what Mary’s book adds to the dialogue re: Trump’s cognition…