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Top White House advisers within President Donald Trump’s administration having seemingly given up trying to convince Trump of anything, instead resorting to conspiring against the president in order to “protect national security,” according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor and famed investigative journalist Bob Woodward.
In his new book “Fear: Trump in the White House,” which both CNN and the Washington Post teased Tuesday ahead of its official Sept. 11 release, Woodward details the paranoia, anger and fear mounting within the president’s administration.
The book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews with aides, firsthand participants and witnesses conducted on “deep background,” as well as from meeting notes, personal diaries and government documents, The Post wrote. The president himself did not sit for an interview.
According to The Post, one of the book’s central themes is the stealthy maneuvering done by Trump’s closest advisers to “control his impulses and prevent disasters” for him and the country. Aides have turned to removing official papers from the president’s desk so he can’t see or sign them, the paper said of Woodward’s reporting.
Gary Cohn, the president’s former top economic adviser and a Wall Street veteran, “stole a letter off Trump’s desk” that the president planned to sign, which would have withdrawn the U.S. from a trade Agreement with South Korea, according to Woodward. Cohn told an associate he took it to protect national security and that Trump did not even notice it was gone.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is described as frequently losing his temper, telling colleagues that the president is “unhinged,” Woodward wrote.
Kelly is reported saying of Trump during a small group meeting: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”
According to Woodward’s book, the president’s former personal attorney John Dowd was convinced Trump would commit perjury if he spoke to special counsel Robert Mueller, so he held a practice session in which Trump stumbled through questioning about the Russia investigation, contradicting himself and eventually losing his cool.
“This thing’s a g-ddamn hoax,” Trump erupted at the start of a 30-minute rant that finished with him saying, “I don’t really want to testify,” according to the Post.
At another point in the book, Dowd described Trump as “a f—ing liar” who would wind up in an “orange jump suit” if defied advice and testified before Mueller.
In addition, Defense Secretary James Mattis describes Trump as having the understanding of “a fifth or sixth grader.” And Trump’s former personal lawyer John Dowd describes the President as “a fucking liar,” telling Trump he would end up in an “orange jump suit” if he testified to special counsel Robert Mueller.
After one meeting with Trump, Woodward writes that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis “was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.'”