Mattis, Kelly ‘insulted’ by Woodward’s ‘work of fiction’

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In one small group meeting, Kelly said of Trump: "He's an idiot".

The book says that Mr Trump's former lawyer in the Russia probe, John Dowd, doubted the President's ability to avoid perjuring himself should he be interviewed in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and potential coordination with Mr Trump's campaign.

According to the book, Mr Trump told Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that he wanted to have Mr Assad assassinated after the Syrian president launched a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017.

Mattis told Trump he would proceed with such a plan, but immediately told an aide, after getting off the phone with the president that, "We're not going to do any of that".

Woodward's book, which is described as based on in-depth interviews with those in and around the West Wing, details a dysfunctional White House in which Trump is an unpredictable boss not respected by top aides.

"The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the book, reported Tuesday that former Trump attorney John Dowd arranged a mock interview for January 27.

Bob Woodward's tell-all book has outraged the White House
ALEX BRANDON AP Bob Woodward's tell-all book has outraged the White House

But never once - never - did I think Woodward made it up", Ari Fleischer, a White House press secretary under former President George W. Bush, tweeted Tuesday. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell.

"I never got a call".

At one point the president confronted Rob Porter, his staff secretary who had also taken a lead role in trade policy, over the failure to pull out of Nafta.

An image of Syria's President Bashar Al Assad is seen on a car's windscreen in the Shiite town of Hermel June 5, 2013. Woodward wrote that Cohn told a colleague that he had to "protect the country".

"This thing's a. hoax", Trump finally said, before deciding he didn't want to testify after all.

Woodward said he asked Kellyanne Conway and others with the White House for access to the president but was rejected.

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Now, both CNN and the Post recount a scene from the book in which Trump sits down with his then-personal lawyer John Dowd for a mock interview.

The book quotes USA defence secretary Jim Mattis as calling Trump a fifth-grader. "And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, 'I told you he was an idiot". "Not all Southerners are dumb".

And the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that she had never heard Mr Trump talking about assassinating the Syrian president. "He made this up to divide!", Mr Trump said in the Tweet.

The White House also issued a statement from the chief of staff, John Kelly, a source quoted in the book, denying one of its claims.

Other aides reportedly insulted Mr Trump behind his back.

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Despite the aging, he wasted no time talking about Trump some more, including Fear, the new book about his presidency by Bob Woodward.

No one coming to terms with the Trump presidency has any reason to be surprised by what they're seeing, including the people who've chose to work for him - which, of course, begs the question: Why did all these folks who've spoken to Woodward decide to work in the Trump White House to begin with?

According to the book, Kelly often vented his frustration with Trump.

The book is supposed to come out in a few weeks.

Woodward reports that Mattis ignored the order and told subordinates to prepare a more conventional airstrike on Syrian military targets instead, according to the Post. "It's either that or an orange jumpsuit".

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