Trump says Woodward book contains 'exact opposite' of truth

Defense Secretary James Mattis then told colleagues Trump had the mental ability of'a fifth or sixth-grader

Defense Secretary James Mattis then told colleagues Trump had the mental ability of'a fifth or sixth-grader

The picture revealed - of an administration having a "nervous breakdown of executive power" - is unflattering in the extreme.

Trump complained on Twitter that people can "get away with" such depictions and again suggested changing libel laws.

During his comments Wednesday, Trump also claimed that the release of Woodward's book was timed to coincide with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing.

"I can stop this". Trump's closest aides, including cabinet members, took extraordinary steps to control his risky impulses that could wreck agreements and cause war, including stealing papers from his desk awaiting his signature.

Among the actual claims made in Woodward's new book are: that Trump ordered Mattis to "f**king kill" Assad; that Mattis compared Trump to a "fifth or sixth grader"; and that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly described the president as an 'unhinged idiot'.

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

Following those air strikes on 7 April 2017, Trump praised the USA military, saying the military personnel "represented the United States and the world so well".

Woodward describes these acts as "no less than an administrative coup d'etat".

Allegations of Trump's remarks are not new and appear to deepen the divide between the him and Sessions, particularly after the attorney general recused himself from the ongoing Russian Federation investigation in 2017.

It didn't go well, as the president grew increasingly frustrated with the intensity of the questioning, at one point angrily calling the investigation "a goddamn hoax".

"It's just nasty stuff", Trump said.

Woodward is considered one of the most renowned investigative political journalists in recent decades.

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 USA president's alleged statement: "Let's fucking kill him!"

"Let's kill the [expletive] lot of them", the president reportedly said.

"So we're going to have a very inaccurate book, and that's too bad", Trump said. The president also dressed down top generals over their handling of the war in Afghanistan, saying that soldiers "on the ground" could do a better job.

But in Fear, sadly, most of what we appear to get is confirmation. Kelly is quoted by Woodward repeating that sentiment, saying, "we're in crazytown....this is the worst job I've ever had". She told reporters at United Nations headquarters that she had been privy to conversations about the Syrian chemical weapons attacks, "and I have not once ever heard the president talk about assassinating Assad".

The White House plans to keep moving forward and "ticking off things on [Trump's] agenda", she told Fox News.

In one meeting with Mueller, Dowd, to make plain just how much he feared that Trump would commit perjury, asked Jay Sekulow, another one of Trump's lawyers, to re-enact Trump's practice session from January. Dowd believed the president had nothing to hide but, according to Woodward, thought he was a "liar" and not capable of giving factual answers.

Mr Woodward tells Mr Trump he had contacted multiple officials to attempt to interview Mr Trump and was rebuffed.

"In serving in this administration, the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone's rich imagination", Mattis' statement said.

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