Explosive Book Questions Trump Fitness for Office

Steve Bannon is quoted about an episode of Russian interference in the 2016 election as saying that “even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately”
Donald TrumpDonald Trump

US President Donald Trump faced a new public relations crisis on Friday with the publication of a tell-all book that depicts him as mentally unstable and in over his head, after his lawyers failed to block its release.

Publishers responded to a cease-and-desist letter from Trump by moving forward by four days the release of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”—an expose by author and political muckraker Michael Wolff that quotes key Trump aides expressing serious doubt about his fitness for office, AFP reported.

“I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist,” Trump tweeted Thursday.

The book—which paints Trump as mentally unstable and far out of his depth—includes extensive quotes from Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, who also received a “cease and desist” order from Trump’s attorneys.

“Your publication of the false/baseless statements about Mr. Trump gives rise to, among other claims, defamation by libel, defamation by libel per se, false light invasion of privacy, tortious interference with contractual relations, and inducement of breach of contract,” Trump’s lawyers said in the letter to Wolff.

In the book, excerpts of which were published this week, Bannon is quoted accusing Trump’s eldest son Don Jr of “treasonous” contacts with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, and saying the president’s daughter Ivanka, who imagines running for president one day, is “dumb as a brick.”

But it is Trump himself who is cast in the most unfavorable light by a series of his top aides.

The book claims that for “Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, the president was an ‘idiot.’ For Gary Cohn, he was ‘dumb as shit.’ For H.R. McMaster, he was a ‘dope.’ The list went on.”

  Russia Allegations

Bannon, who left the White House in August, is also quoted in the book as saying that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election will focus on money laundering.

The investigation by Mueller, a former FBI director, is looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to help get him elected—a charge the president has repeatedly and vehemently denied.

Russia-related allegations in the book also ensnare Don Junior, who took a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 after an intermediary promised material that would incriminate Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting at Trump Tower in New York.

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor—with no lawyers,” Bannon was quoted as saying in the book.

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” he said.

  MBS; Our Man on Top

Trump is said on the book to take credit for the shake up on the line of succession that hit Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2017, the New Arab reported.

Trump alleged he installed Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS) as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince.

“We’ve put our man on top,” Trump is said to have claimed to friends.

The shake-up in June saw Saudi Arabia’s King Salman shelve decades of custom within the royal family, by naming his 31-year-old son Mohammad bin Salman as crown prince, ousting his nephew Mohammad bin Nayef.

When the announcement came, Trump congratulated bin Salman on his “recent elevation”.

Just a month earlier, the US president visited the kingdom in his first overseas trip, signing a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi leaders.

In the book, Wolff described the trip as a “get-out-of-Dodge godsend”, as Trump left Washington shortly after firing FBI Director James Comey.

“There couldn’t have been a better time to be making headlines far from Washington. A road trip could transform everything.”

The book also claims that Trump considered appointing a friend to the Supreme Court vacancy filled by Neil Gorsuch, eats food from McDonald’s because he believes it to be safe from poison, and that his team did not believe he was capable of winning the election.

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