Trump and Bannon
Steve Bannon was ousted as chief strategist to President Donald Trump In November Getty Images/AFP/Mandel Ngan

The feud between President Donald Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon escalated late Wednesday after Trump’s attorney sent Bannon a “cease and desist” letter.

The letter, obtained by ABC News, accused Bannon of violating an agreement signed during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign that disallowed him from giving out confidential information that might be disparaging to Trump and his family.

Earlier on Wednesday, excerpts from a forthcoming book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” written by journalist Michael Wolff, revealed that Bannon criticized Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner for their meetings with a group of Russians who promised damaging information against presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

This led to Trump slamming Bannon, saying when he was fired "he not only lost his job, he lost his mind".

The Washington Post reported the White House also disavowed the book, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying the book was "filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House.”

Trump’s lawyer Charles Harder threatened Bannon with legal action and demanded in the letter that Bannon “cease and desist from any and all further disclosure of Confidential Information, disparagement of Mr. Trump, his family members, his or their companies, and/or the Company, and communication with the media, including but not limited to Mr. Wolff and any and all other journalists, reports, authors and bloggers.”

According to the website Legal Nature, a cease and desist letter is essentially a formal notice to another of their unwanted activity and to stop the activity in question immediately, based on a claim that the author of the letter, or the author’s client feels harmed by the actions of the person the letter is addressed to.

Upcounsel, another website for legal advice, expalains that cease and desist letters, unlike cease and desist orders, have almost no legal standing. A letter is just one attorney’s opinion on the law but an order is issued by the court. The letter, however, establishes that the offender is told about their violation and might also become the first step in a potential lawsuit.

Cease and desist letters could be sent when there is a “tortious interference of contract,” a business tort that allows one of the two parties bound in a contract to hold the other liable if that person interfered with the contract in a way that caused the other to suffer damages, as in the case of Trump and Bannon.

They could also be used to stop libel and slander, demand from a person that they stop from indulging in character assassination of another party. All of these were loosely the violations that Harder claimed Bannon committed.

Paragraph 8 of the contractual agreement between Bannon and Trump was stated in the letter, under which Bannon was told that a breach of his promises that came under the agreement would “cause the Company, Mr. Trump and each other Trump Person irreparable harm.”

"Remedies for your breach of the agreement include but are not limited to monetary damages, injunctive relief and all other remedies available at law and equity,” Harder’s letter stated. However, no monetary amount was disclosed.

“Mr. Trump and the Company retain all rights to pursue legal action against you. Should that occur, they would bring all available causes of action and seek all available legal and equitable remedies, including monetary damages, to the maximum extent permitted by law,” Harder also wrote.

In a separate statement, Harder said Bannon’s actions “give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients,” adding, “Legal action is imminent,” Politico reported.