Trump wanted to get rid of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, ?@PhilipRucker? and ?@CarolLeonnig? report in their new book. “It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump said. https://t.co/BzXfUyGZiA
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) January 15, 2020
I’m kidding, of course — we know most of this crap already. But kudos to the authors on the timing of their release…
President Trump reveals himself as woefully uninformed about the basics of geography, incorrectly telling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.” He toys with awarding himself the Medal of Freedom.
And, according to a new book by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig, Trump does not seem to grasp the fundamental history surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor…
“A Very Stable Genius” — a 417-page book named after Trump’s own declaration of his superior knowledge — is full of similarly vivid details from Trump’s tumultuous first three years as president, from his chaotic transition before taking office to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and final report…
The book by the two longtime Post reporters — who were part of the team that won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on Trump and Russia — was obtained ahead of its scheduled release Tuesday.
Many of the key moments reported in the book are rife with foreign policy implications, portraying a novice commander in chief plowing through normal protocols and alarming many both inside the administration and in other governments.
Early in his administration, for instance, Trump is eager to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin — so much so, the authors write, “that during the transition he interrupts an interview with one of his secretary of state candidates” to inquire about his pressing desire: “When can I meet Putin? Can I meet with him before the inaugural ceremony?” he asks…
In spring 2017, Trump also clashed with Tillerson when he told him he wanted his help getting rid of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1977 law that prevents U.S. firms and individuals from bribing foreign officials for business deals.
“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump says, according to the book. “We’re going to change that.”
The president, they go on to explain, was frustrated with the law “ostensibly because it restricted his industry buddies or his own company’s executives from paying off foreign governments in faraway lands.”
The book, the duo writes in an author’s note, is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with more than 200 sources, corroborated, when possible, by calendars, diary entries, internal memos and even private video recordings. (Trump himself had initially committed to an interview for the book, the authors write, but ultimately declined, amid an escalating war with the media).
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday…
Anthony Scaramucci, who served as Trump’s communications director for just 11 days, recounts the president’s response when he asks him, “Are you an act?”
“I’m a total act and I don’t understand why people don’t get it,” Trump replies, according to Scaramucci.
Yet the people in Trump’s administration and orbit don’t behave as if the president is simply playing a part or acting a role. At the Justice Department, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and other senior officials run through private fire drills in case Trump triggers a “Saturday night massacre” — an allusion to the series of resignations under President Richard M. Nixon following his order to his attorney general to fire the Watergate independent special prosecutor…
Trump was “verbally and emotionally abusive” toward then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the book reports, and routinely complained she was not doing enough about illegal immigration and the border…
When Nielsen — who had received threats against her life as the public face of the administration’s hard-line immigration policy — eventually left the government, she did so without any prearranged continuing security detail, which must be requested by the chief of staff and authorized by the president.
“When some of her international counterparts visited Washington, they offered to hire personal security for Nielsen to protect her, but she declined,” write the authors. “ ‘That would look horrible,’ Nielsen told them. ‘Can you imagine the story? Foreign governments provide security because the U.S. won’t?’ ”.…
Somewhere, former Ambassador Marie Voynovich shakes her head.
— Ryan D. Enos (@RyanDEnos) January 15, 2020
Re: a discussion of the new book by the WaPo authors on @NicolleDWallace’s show on the president*’s ignorance and incuriosity. Remember when Reagan was ignorant and incurious, but considered “charming.” Remember when W was ignorant and incurious, but deemed a “regular guy."
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) January 15, 2020
God help the historians who have to explain this in 50 years.
"As news broke about his private agents plotting against an American ambassador, President Trump held a political rally in which he complained about a series household appliances. (No, seriously, check my footnotes!)" https://t.co/mRGeos11Xe
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) January 15, 2020