Trump insists he's 'exact opposite' of Woodward's portrayal

Journalist Bob Woodward and President Donald Trump

Journalist Bob Woodward and President Donald Trump

This plays out in larger and more troubling ways as well, according to Woodward's book, and history may judge most of Trump's White House team and political party harshly for enabling the president's radical solipsism.

THE BOOK: Woodward's prologue is a snapshot from September 2017, in which economic adviser Gary Cohn quietly removed from the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office a draft letter from Trump to the president of South Korea terminating a pair of trade agreements. Mr. Trump decried the quotes and stories in the book on Twitter as "frauds, a con on the public", adding that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly had denied uttering quoted criticisms of the President in the book. He (Mattis) was totally, not even misquoted, he never made the statement.

A new book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, Fear: Trump in the White House, now claims that Donald Trump's aides say he has turned the White House into "Crazytown" and is a national security risk.

THE RESPONSE: In a statement, Kelly is quoted as saying, "The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true, in fact it's exactly the opposite". According to Woodward, Cohn told a colleague that Trump never noticed. "I slept like a rock", the president said.

Denying any move to replace the defence secretary, Trump described Mattis as a terrific person and said "he is doing a fantastic job as secretary". Brian Hauss, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that a threat against libel laws was not "credible". Dowd suggested Trump not testify. "Let's go in. Let's kill the f***ing lot of them".

"I assume that means it's going to be a negative book", the president replies.

In Trump's eyes, what makes or breaks aides who are reported to have made disparaging comments about him is how strongly they push back on the accusations.

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Woodward wrote that Dowd would tell Mueller that the president did not have time for the inquiry while he was juggling the responsibilities of his new job. "We're having victories that people don't even know about, and he's highly respected all over the world". And, you know, the dishonest media, you people deal with it as well as I do. Lying about what he previously said to someone is the man's wheelhouse; you want to impress him, you'd better be able to lie with the same shameless aplomb.

"Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit", John Dowd, Trump's former lawyer in the Russian Federation probe, is quoted in the book.

As I wrote Wednesday, we had four examples in a little more than 24 hours of senior White House officials resorting to subterfuge or outright disregarding or avoiding what the president wanted to do.

"That was the greatest show of self-control I have ever seen", Kelly said.

- In the book, Woodward confirms NBC News reporting from April that Chief of Staff John Kelly had called Trump an "idiot" and thought of himself as someone who was personally helping to save the USA from disaster.

But in Fear, sadly, most of what we appear to get is confirmation. I'm committed to the president, his agenda, and our country.

The book follows the January release of author Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury", which led to a rift between Trump and Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist.

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