Trump calls quotes in Woodward book 'frauds'

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No one coming to terms with the Trump presidency has any reason to be surprised by what they're seeing, including the people who've made a decision to work for him - which, of course, begs the question: Why did all these folks who've spoken to Woodward decide to work in the Trump White House to begin with?

In a statement to The Post, Woodward said, "I stand by my reporting".

Woodward sought through multiple White House officials and others close to Trump to secure an interview with him, to no avail.

On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, however, the White House geared up, with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chief of Staff John Kelly issuing statements forcefully denying their use of derogatory words about their boss, and calling the book "fiction".

A new book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, Fear: Trump in the White House, now claims that Donald Trump's aides say he has turned the White House into "Crazytown" and is a national security risk.

The Washington Post, who got an early copy of the book, reports Mattis stated that Trump's understanding of the USA involvement on the Korean Peninsula was at a grade school level.

The book says Trump's former lawyer in the Russia probe, John Dowd, doubted the president's ability to avoid perjuring himself should he be interviewed in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and potential coordination with Trump's campaign.

The administration seemed initially caught off guard by the reports of the book, but then it turned up the volume on its responses over the course of the day.

White House chief of staff John Kelly is denying an account in journalist Bob Woodward's new book that he called Trump an "idiot".

"Secretaries of defense don't always get to choose the president they work for", it adds.

"The idea I ever called the president an idiot is not true", Kelly said in a White House statement.

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Separately, Mattis denied on Tuesday that he had criticized the president in the way Woodward described.

"Mattis said, "[The] contemptuous words [attributed to me] were never uttered by me or in my presence".

Mr Trump tells Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross he does not trust him, saying: "I don't want you doing any more negotiations".

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

Mr Trump's former lawyer in the Russian Federation probe, John Dowd, is also said to have doubted Mr Trump's ability to avoid perjuring himself should he sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller.

This amounts to an "administrative coup d'état", Woodward says.

For Trump, that means denials from the pulpit of the presidency and from allies who had been quoted questioning his intelligence and stability. "It's either that or an orange jumpsuit".

Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama cheers on the crowd during a President-elect Donald Trump's rally at the Ladd-Peebles Stadium, in Mobile, Alabama, December 17, 2016.

He continued on Wednesday: "The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded" and "a dumb southerner".

"I was criticized in one magazine, where the writer was retarded", Trump said at the time. The Post released audio of Trump expressing surprise about the book in an August conversation with Woodward and dismay that he did not have an opportunity to contribute.

The reporter, who said the book was based on hundreds of hours of interviews, had a brief retort: "It's going to be accurate, I promise".