Donald Trump slams Bob Woodward book | News | DW | 05.09.2018
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Donald Trump slams Bob Woodward book

Journalist Bob Woodward, best known for his reporting on the Watergate scandal, has left Donald Trump in a huff. His book paints a damning picture of chaos within the White House.

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward's new book, which describes scenes of chaos in the White House, left US President Donald Trump fuming on Wednesday.

The book draws on hundreds of hours of taped interviews with current and former aides and officials to paint a damning portrait of the Trump administration.

Read more: Bob Woodward's book describes a dysfunctional Trump White House

What the book claims

Excerpts from the 420-page book, to be released next week, have been published by various US news outlets. In the book, Woodward reports:

  • Top administration staff enacted an "administrative coup d'etat" by frequently hiding documents, or secretly preventing Trump from acting on impulses and causing disaster.
  • Chief of staff John Kelly doubted the integrity of Trump's mental faculties, declaring during one meeting, "We're in Crazytown" and calling Trump an "idiot."
  • Trump wanted to order the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Defense Secretary James Mattis assured Trump he would get right on it but then told a senior aide they'd do nothing of the kind.
  • Mattis told "close associates that the president acted — and had the understanding of — a fifth- or sixth-grader," after Trump raged about the cost of the US military presence in South Korea.
  • Trump's former lawyer in the Russia probe, John Dowd, thought the chances of Trump perjuring himself during an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller were so high that he told him not to testify.
  • "Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit," Dowd is quoted as saying. He later called Trump "a fucking liar."
  • Trump called Attorney General Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded" and "a dumb southerner."

Read more: Donald Trump makes Ohio's Youngstown great again

Trump responds

Trump insisted he's "the exact opposite" of the book's portrayal of him, complaining on Twitter that people can "get away with" such depictions and suggested changing libel laws.

He later told conservative outlet The Daily Caller: "It's just another bad book. He's had a lot of credibility problems." He then suggested Woodward could have made the whole thing up.

Several officials quoted in the book issued denials, with Kelly calling the book "total BS" and Mattis labeling it "fiction." Dowd denied saying Trump would end up in an orange jumpsuit.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, cast doubt on the account about Assad.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the president look bad."

In a statement to The Washington Post, Woodward said, "I stand by my reporting."

Trusted source: Woodward is one of America's most respected journalists, with his reporting on the Watergate scandal bringing down President Richard Nixon. Trump himself had previously endorsed his credibility, saying in 2013, "Only the Obama WH can get away with attacking Bob Woodward."

Damage control: Several damaging accounts of chaos in the White House have been published in recent months, most notably Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury." But Woodward's account will be particularly difficult to counter as it is based on recorded interviews and comes from a highly respected investigative reporter.

Release date: The book, titled "Fear: Trump in the White House," is scheduled for release on Tuesday, September 11.

 

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