The book details the first year of the presidency of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump allowed Wolff access to his administration due to his favorable opinion of an article Wolff wrote about him from an interview in June 2016 for The Hollywood Reporter. From mid-2016, during the presidential campaign and then continuing through the first year of Trump's presidency, Wolff was allowed to spend time in the White House's West Wing conducting research for his book. He conducted over 200 interviews with Trump and his associates including the senior staff, over 18 months, and was allowed to witness events at the White House without his presence being managed. This allowed Wolff to be present the day of the dismissal of James Comey. Wolff reportedly audiotaped some of the conversations mentioned in the book.Washington, DC is a single-party consent jurisdiction under local wiretapping law.

According to the book, nobody in the presidential campaign team expected to win the 2016 presidential election, including the candidate, who reportedly did not want to win, and his wife. Donald Trump Jr. said his father "looked as if he had seen a ghost" when he realized he had won, and Melania Trump was "in tears — and not of joy." In interviews with Wolff, Steve Bannon, the chief executive of the Trump campaign in its final months, referred to the Trump campaign - Russian meetings as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic". Sam Nunberg, a campaign advisor, reportedly tried to explain the United States Constitution to Trump, but could not get past the Fourth Amendment.Also according to Wolff, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump discussed having Ivanka run in a future presidential campaign.

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