A new book provides an insightful portrayal of Donald Trump’s mindset immediately after he fired former FBI Director James Comey because of “you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia,” as he told NBC’s Lester Holt.
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Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times Michael Schmidt, the upcoming book Donald Trump v. The United States offers several previously undisclosed details of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering after Trump expelled his counter-intelligence investigation antagonist from the nation’s security apparatus.
Axios revealed the story in an advance excerpt of the book today with the tale of how Trump phoned General John Kelly, then still the Secretary of Homeland Security, to offer him Comey’s former job.
Using direct quotes from the yet to be published book, Axios tells of the conditions that the president attached to his job offer and Kelly’s incredulous and defiant reaction that led him to decline the offer.
“But the president added something else — if he became FBI director, Trump told him, Kelly needed to be loyal to him, and only him,” one quote reads.
“Kelly immediately realized the problem with Trump’s request for loyalty, and he pushed back on the president’s demand,” Schmidt writes.
“Kelly said that he would be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, but he refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump,” Axios reports Schmidt saying.
“In addition to illustrating how Trump viewed the role and independence of senior officials who work for him, the president’s demand for loyalty tracked with Comey’s experience with Trump,” Schmidt writes.
Apparently none of this information came up in Kelly’s interview with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team which was limited to a single two-hour interview, according to the online publication.
Some additional devastating quotes from Donald Trump v. The United States include these:
“Throughout Kelly’s time working directly with Trump, Kelly was repeatedly struck by how Trump failed to understand how those who worked for him — like Kelly and other top former generals — had interest in being loyal not to him, but to the institutions of American democracy.”
“Kelly has told others that Trump wanted to behave like an authoritarian and repeatedly had to be restrained and told what he could and could not legally do.”
“Aside from questions of the law, Kelly has told others that one of the most difficult tasks he faced with Trump was trying to stop him from pulling out of NATO — a move that Trump has repeatedly threatened but never made good on, which would have been a seismic breach of American alliances and an extraordinary gift to Putin.”
“Kelly has said that having to say no to Trump was like ‘French kissing a chainsaw.'”
For more details of the revelations in Schmidt’s new book, check out the original Axios article here.
In the meantime, contemplate how much more imperative the defeat of this traitorous president with no respect for our nation’s democratic principles truly is after learning these new nuggets of truth.
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Original reporting by Jonathan Swan at Axios.
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