Veteran reporter Bob Woodward spent months trying to speak with President Donald Trump for his upcoming book about the current administration, reaching out to half a dozen senior aides and lawmakers close to the Oval Office.
"The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence", the defense secretary said.
Even so - whether at Trump's side because they believe, they serve or they finagle - everyone in the White House should take careful note of the person they're dealing with and the person whom Woodward has fleshed out.
The former adviser pulled a similar move over Mr Trump's plans to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the book claims. "Sometimes it is unconventional, but he always gets results". Mr Kelly called Mr Trump an "idiot", and said: "We're in Crazytown".
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- In the book, Woodward confirms NBC News reporting from April that Chief of Staff John Kelly had called Trump an "idiot" and thought of himself as someone who was personally helping to save the USA from disaster.
Labeling details of the book "a con on the public" with "made up" quotes, the president also seemingly questioned the "timing" of the book reveal.
President Donald Trump used Twitter to complain about people making up stories on Wednesday, and other social media users could nearly taste the irony. "Well, accurate is that nobody's ever done a better job than I'm doing as president".
Meanwhile Trump's former lawyer John Dowd told Axios he had never called Trump a "fucking liar", as Woodward reported.
After the president saw video of the aftermath of a poison gas attack on Syrian civilians in April 2017, he called Mattis, and according to Woodward, and fumed "let's f**king kill him", referring to Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad.
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Thiago understands and knows me.after a defeat we don't talk about it, he knows not to talk about it. 'The one who has really surprised me is Arthur, ' he said. "Here I have everything".
Woodward was denied access to Trump during his research despite repeated requests.
A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump's inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.
Woodward repeatedly recounts at length how Trump's national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs and his contempt for the mainstream perspectives of military and intelligence leaders, according to The Washington Post, where Woodward serves as an associate editor.
Mr Trump treated top aides with scorn, the book says, telling Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that he was past his prime and calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded".
There's an even worse one coming.
Trump has publicly criticised Sessions, but on Wednesday he denied ever using such language to describe anyone. Trump said, before Mattis talked him down, according to Woodward.
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Monday night, some 42,000 documents pertaining to Kavanaugh's work with previous administrations were released to the committee. Wade decision is "settled law", as he has told other senators, but "whether you believe it is the correct law".