Trump suggests libel laws be changed after bombshell book

Trump said his former chief of staff Reince Priebus scurries around'like a rat

Trump said his former chief of staff Reince Priebus scurries around'like a rat

While both sides will still dive deep into the most important challenges confronting them - China, India's missile deal with Russia, Iran oil and bilateral trade - both sides know that something has changed.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders evaded questions Wednesday on Fox News about whether it was a mistake for the communications department not to have Trump sit for an interview with Woodward. Mr Mattis is said to have hung up the phone and told a senior aide: "We're not going to do any of that".

Woodward wrote his "Fear: Trump in the White House" based on interviews with "sources", and "meeting notes" and the like.

"Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public", he added. Trump has frequently threatened legal action against others he says have wronged him without following through.

"I'm a Southerner, people can judge my intellect, my IQ, by my product and what I produce rather than what somebody else says", Sen.

"It's just nasty stuff", the president said.

FILE PHOTO: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attends an interview with Russian television channel NTV, in Damascus, Syria in this handout released on June 24, 2018.

Here's a look at some of the blockbuster revelations that have emerged so far from early excerpts of Woodward's book.

The book, which has not yet been released, depicts top Trump aides sometimes sidestepping instructions to limit what they see as his damaging and unsafe behavior.

Although Trump begins the conversation with Woodward saying, "I think you've always been fair", once he determines the journalist is writing a tough book (which Trump characterizes as negative), his demeanor changes.

"'So it sounds like you're on the fence about going to prom with me?'"

Woodward claims in the book that the president referred to his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, as "mentally retarded", and White House chief of staff John Kelly called the president an "idiot" and "unhinged".

Mr Woodward writes that Mr Trump was presiding over "a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world". Johnny Isakson of Georgia said, according to The Post.

Dowd told Trump: "Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit".

Woodward did not interview Trump for the book, but Trump did reach out to Woodward in August. Those issuing denials, at least in part, included Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly.

Meanwhile Trump's former lawyer John Dowd told Axios he had never called Trump a "fucking liar", as Woodward reported.

"Well, accurate is that nobody's ever done a better job than I'm doing as president", Trump responded.

"It's a gutless coward who will not stand up and be counted for what he or she says has happened", he said.

Key allies have pushed back against the book, which quotes Trump aides disparaging the president's judgment and claiming they plucked papers off his desk to prevent him from withdrawing from a pair of trade agreements.

Trump - about to be on the receiving end of a potentially damaging book written by a Washington insider with bipartisan, established credentials - is utterly calm on the recording.

The Washington Post was the first to share an excerpt from the book. "When you put a snake and a rat and a falcon and a rabbit and a shark and a seal in a zoo without walls, things start getting nasty and bloody", he allows, according to Woodward's account. Woodward told him that he made the request to at least a half-dozen people close to the president, and that it was never granted. "I am into fiction like General Mattis, so maybe I'll take a look at this one". "If that was me, I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his ass six different times".

The administration found in Woodward's book is one racked with anxiety over the president's erratic behaviors, where everyone is a potential target of Trump's belittlement.

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