Officials slam Trump as ‘idiot’
WATERGATE journalist Bob Woodward has detailed insults about US President Donald Trump's intelligence from his own senior staff, including chief of staff John Kelly.
Mr Kelly reportedly called Mr Trump an "idiot" and said in a meeting with a small group the president was "unhinged," according to the Washington Post, Woodward's longtime employer, which got a copy of the 448-page book, Fear: Trump in the White House.
"He's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We're in Crazytown. I don't even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I've ever had," Mr Kelly said at a meeting, according to Woodward.
Defence Secretary James Mattis reportedly said Mr Trump had "the mental ability of 'a fifth- or sixth-grader'", after he asked what the use was of early warning systems in Alaska to identify a nuclear attack from North Korea.
The book also details some of Mr Trump's own insults.
The billionaire reportedly called Attorney-General Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded" for recusing himself from the Russia probe.
"He's this dumb Southerner. … He couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama," Mr Trump said.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, is so convinced that Mr Trump would commit perjury if he was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller that he convinced the US president in the strongest possible terms not to testify.
"Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit," he said.
Mr Dowd also expressed his concerns directly to Mueller, Woodward writes.
"I'm not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, 'I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?''
According to Woodward, Mr Mueller replied: "John, I understand."
TRUMP WANTED TO KILL ASSAD
Woodward's book also alleges Mr Trump wanted to "f**king kill" Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
"Let's f**king kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the f**king lot of them," Mr Trump said to Gen. Mattis, according to the book.
Gen. Mattis told the president that he'd get right on it.
But after hanging up, he told a senior aide: "We're not going to do any of that. We're going to be much more measured."
STAFF STOLE PAPERS OFF TRUMP'S DESK TO PROTECT COUNTRY
Mr Trump's former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn reportedly saw a letter on the president's desk that would have withdrawn the US from a critical trade agreement with South Korea.
Woodward reports Cohn was "appalled" that Trump might sign the letter. "I stole it off his desk," Cohn told an associate. "I wouldn't let him see it. He's never going to see that document. Got to protect the country."
Former staff secretary Rob Porter told Woodward that he used the same tactic of stealing papers off Mr Trump's desk.
"A third of my job was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that he had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren't such good ideas," said Mr Porter.
IVANKA: 'I'LL NEVER BE A STAFFER. I AM THE FIRST DAUGHTER'
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump reportedly clashed with many in the Trump administration, including former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.
"You're nothing but a fucking staffer!" Bannon screamed at Ivanka at a staff meeting, according to Woodward. "You walk around this place and act like you're in charge, and you're not. You're on staff!"
"I'm not a staffer!" she shouted back. "I'll never be a staffer. I'm the first daughter" - she really used the title, Woodward writes - "and I'm never going to be a staffer!"