New book by Woodward says Trump wanted Syrian leader killed

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According to Woodward, Mattis told staff to ignore a tirade by Trump against Syria's president Bashar al-Assad in the wake of a chemical weapons attack in April 2017 and the U.S. president's alleged statement: "Let's fucking kill him!"

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.

The call lasted approximately 11 minutes, much of which was spent by Mr. Trump trying to convince Woodward that he would have loved to talk to him prior to the book being completed, despite the fact that Woodward reached out repeatedly to the White House for an interview with the president. "He's gone off the rails", Kelly was quoted in the book as saying. "We're in crazytown", chief of staff John Kelly said during one meeting in his office. I do not even know why any of us are here.

President Donald Trump wanted to have Syria's Bashar Assad assassinated previous year but his defense secretary ignored the request, according to a new book that depicts top Trump aides as sometimes sidestepping instructions to limit what they see as his damaging and unsafe behavior. "Let's f-ing kill him!"

The White House under President Donald Trump is mired in a perpetual "nervous breakdown" with staff constantly seeking to control a leader whose anger and paranoia can paralyse operations for days, according to a new book by Bob Woodward.

The White House, in a statement from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, dismissed the book as "nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the president look bad". After ending a phone call with the commander in chief, Mattis reportedly told his a top aide to ignore the president's order. The book, which is scheduled for release on September 11, is the latest to detail tensions within the White House under Trump's 20-month-old presidency.

Mr Trump's erratic instincts and lack of curiosity about national security issues have alarmed senior foreign policy advisers, according to Mr Woodward's book.

Chief of Staff John Kelly on Trump: "He's an idiot".

Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings begin
Grassley ignored the Democrats' request to halt the hearing, saying the demand was "out of order" and accused them of obstruction. That seat instead was filled by Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump.

Meanwhile, Mattis was quoted in a tweet by Defense One executive editor Kevin Baron as saying: "The contemptuous words about the Pres. attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence".

Mueller has asked the White House for access to Trump, and administration officials have negotiated for months over how that might happen.

The book describes how Dowd reportedly set up a practice session for Trump and told the president, "Don't testify".

The The Daily Mail calls the book "explosive", and noted Woodward's "usual methods of deeply sourced reporting". "I stole it off his desk", Cohn told an associate, according to Woodward. "This is a pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump". But, according to Woodward, Trump was not finished.

Former staff secretary Rob Porter, who handled the flow of presidential papers, allegedly used similar tactics on several occasions. "I wouldn't let him see it".

Perhaps some of the strongest rhetoric came from former FBI Director James Comey, who called Trump "morally unfit to be president", "untethered to truth", and "unethical". "He's this dumb Southerner", Trump said, affecting an exaggerated Southern accent.

The next morning, Dowd quit as one of Trump's lawyers. "I'll just take the paper off his desk". I'm committed to the president, his agenda, and our country.

The book has Trump mocking Sessions' southern accent alongside other insults.