Damning new book depicts 'crazytown' Trump White House

Donald Trump Bashar al-Assad

Woodward's book relies on hundreds of hours of taped confidential background interviews and dozens of sources in Trump's inner circle, as well as documents, files, diaries and memos, including a note handwritten by Trump himself.

In the book, Woodward, an associate editor at the Post who has written books on eight presidents, also reports on a meeting at which White House Chief of Staff John Kelly ranted about Trump to colleagues.

Here's what we know about the surprisingly powerful aide: Westerhout first came to public attention in 2016 as the "greeter girl" for dignitaries visiting then President-elect Trump at Trump Tower.

Administration staffers often have to engage in stealth behaviour to prevent Trump from being impulsive and to minimise disasters that could hurt the president and the country. "He's this dumb Southerner", Trump reportedly told Porter about Sessions.

Woodward said that aides often plucked documents off Trump's desk in the Oval Office to prevent him from signing them to carry out actions that the aides felt would endanger world security or US interests.

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.

Revelations featured in the book include Defense Secretary Jim Matthis reportedly describing Trump as having the understanding of "a fifth- or sixth-grader" after a National Security Council meeting where the president questioned why the American government was spending money on a military presence on the Korean Peninsula.

"This guy is mentally retarded", Trump said of Sessions, according to the book. Trump is upsetting norms of how presidents behave, some of them dating back to George Washington.

And in April 2017, after Syria's Bashar al-Assad attacked civilians with chemical weapons, Woodward reports, Trump demanded Mattis assassinate Assad. "But never once - never - did I think Woodward made it up", Mr Fleischer said. So Porter consulted Cohn, who told him, according to Woodward: 'I can stop this.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this or other aspects of the excerpts.

"I'm not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot", Dowd allegedly told Mueller. "This is the worst job I've ever had". "I never got a message".

When he learned about Mueller's appointment to lead the probe, Trump complained, "Everybody's trying to get me". Then-White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn recounted how, on two separate occasions, he plucked letters off Trump's desk that would have taken the USA out of important global agreements.

Woodward goes through a lengthy list of enemies that Trump's continued to make within his own administration.

'He's an idiot. It is pointless to try and convince him of anything.

Former top economic adviser Gary Cohn so feared that the programme would be at risk if Trump signed a letter formally withdrawing the United States from a South Korean trade agreement that he stole the letter from the Oval Office desk, said CNN, which also obtained a copy of Woodward's book.

But Trump did not speak to Woodward until after the book's manuscript was completed. The Post released audio of Trump expressing surprise about the book in an August conversation with Woodward and dismay that he did not have an opportunity to contribute.

"This thing's a goddamn hoax", Trump erupted at the start of a 30-minute rant that finished with him saying, "I don't really want to testify".

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