Washington — The book by an anonymous author identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration” will be released Tuesday. It describes President Trump as someone who “couldn’t focus on governing [and] was prone to abuses of power, from ill-conceived schemes to punish his political rivals to a propensity for undermining vital American institutions.”
Anonymous, who originally penned a New York Times opinion piece to tell the world that there was a “quiet resistance” to Mr. Trump within his own administration “working diligently” to block his “worst inclinations,” now criticizes Mr. Trump for pressuring the media to reveal the whistleblower’s identity. The author derides Mr. Trump’s efforts as “actions we would expect from tin-pot dictators in repressive countries and which we would openly decry as a nation.”
The book, “A Warning,” is intended by the author to analyze the problems of the Trump administration and “propose how we can move forward.” CBS News has not independently confirmed the writer’s identity or the claims made in the book. It’s not clear whether the author still works in the administration.
“A Warning” includes allegations of racist and misogynist behind-the-scenes statements by Mr. Trump. It portrays the president as reckless and irresponsible. And it describes the president as a complete amateur while dealing with foreign leaders. It also suggests Mr. Trump is mentally unstable.
It claims that top White House staffers believed Vice President Mike Pence was prepared to sign a letter invoking the 25th Amendment, which would remove a president from office for being deemed unable to perform the job.
Pence denies the claims as “rumors … without qualification.”
The writer claims many officials share his or her concerns but says “most are afraid” to echo them.
Anonymous seeks to dispel the idea that he or she hopes to gain financially with the book. The author pledged to donate proceeds to nonprofits that focus on government accountability and to those who “stand up for truth in repressive countries around the world,” including the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Here are some of the book’s highlights:
A Saturday Night Massacre? Or not
The writer claims senior administration officials considered resigning as a group last year in a “midnight self-massacre” to “call attention to Trump’s misconduct and erratic leadership.” But they ultimately decided that such an act would do more harm than good.
“The idea was abandoned out of fear that it would make a bad situation worse.”
“With every dismissal or departure of a level-headed senior leader, the risks to the country grow, and the president is validated by a shrinking cadre of advisors who abet or encourage his bad behavior. We are already seeing the consequences.”
“Skepticism about career staff is so intense that sometimes Trump aides deliberately disclose false information in meetings to see if it ends up in the press so they can root out suspected traitors,” Anonymous writes.
Death of John McCain
After the longtime senator died, the president fought with personnel about honoring McCain by flying flags at half-staff. The flag on the White House was lowered “briefly” on the day McCain died, then raised to full-staff the next morning. His aides urged him to lower the flag and issue a statement about McCain.
“President Trump rebuffed each request. In fact, he wanted all government buildings to hoist their flags back up. Members of the staff were dumbfounded.”
“After frantic pleas from the communications team and increasingly bad television coverage, the president finally relented and allowed for a short statement to be drafted and for a proclamation to be issued.”
On Jeff Sessions
The author makes it clear Mr. Trump wasn’t happy with his former attorney general.
“If I had one do-over, it would be: I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general,” Mr. Trump said in an interview in June on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Anonymous writes the president told aides that Sessions was “one of the stupidest creatures on this earth God ever created!”
“I know firsthand that leading GOP officials would like to dump the president if there was a strong candidate willing to step forward,” Anonymous writes.
Trump administration’s reaction
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham released a statement last week condemning the book as “a work of fiction.”
“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies,” she said.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department sent a letter to the book’s publisher and the writer’s literary agency, raising questions over whether any confidentiality agreement had been violated and asking for information that could help reveal the author’s identity.
The publisher, Hachette Book Group, said it would provide no additional information.
Steve Dorsey, Katie Watson, Paula Reid, Gaby Ake, Stephen Sanchez, Zoe Poindexter, Lete Childs, Adam Aigner-Treworgy, Olivia Rinaldi, Samantha Cookinham, Richard Escobedo, Romello Oliver and Diara Newman contributed to this report.
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