Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Two of the most prominent reporters covering President Donald Trump, Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post, are set to release a new book this month called “A Very Stable Genius” — delving into the details of the inner workings of the current administration.
And on Wednesday, the paper published a new article detailing some of the explosive episodes discussed in the book.
Here are 5 of the wild details the book reports:
1. Trump was eager to meet with Putin.
According to Leonnig and Rucker, Trump was “eager” to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin even before he was officially in office.
“When can I meet Putin?” he reportedly asked on of the candidates for the Secretary of State position. “Can I meet with him before the inaugural ceremony?”
2. Trump wanted to get rid of a law he may have violated.
The report explained:
In spring of 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.”
Trump’s own conduct as a businessman before becoming president may have violated FCPA, and as Quartz reported in 2017, many legal experts and activists worried when he first became president that his administration could weaken its enforcement. Some have even argued that Trump’s Ukraine scheme that led to his impeachment may have violated the law.
3. There were “fire drills” at the Justice Department in case Trump started firing people left and right.
During Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, officials at the Justice Department ran “fire drills” to game out scenarios they could follow if the president started trying to conduct his own “Saturday Night Massacre,” the reporters found.
The report explained:
The officials have reason to be concerned, according to the authors, who report that Trump muses about using a memo by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) as the justification for firing Rosenstein and reigning in Mueller’s investigation. He also rails against his own Justice Department, furious that the agency isn’t being sufficiently loyal to him personally.
4. Trump said the Constitution is “like a foreign language.”
One detail that the Post calls harmless, but it’s still striking nonetheless, involves Trump literally struggling to read the Constitution. If this were a work of fiction, the metaphor would have been laughed at for being far too heavyhanded:
Early in his presidency, Trump agrees to participate in an HBO documentary that features judges and lawmakers — as well as all the living presidents — reading aloud from the Constitution. But Trump struggles and stumbles over the text, blaming others in the room for his mistakes and griping, “It’s like a foreign language.”
5. Mueller “looked as if he’d been slapped” after Bill Barr released his letter on the report.
The book also provides new insight into a particularly curious episode surrounding the release of the Mueller report. Attorney General Bill Barr first released his own letter about the report, ostensibly summarizing its conclusions, and Mueller’s team responded by writing a letter to Barr critiquing his characterization of the findings.
The authors suggest that Barr’s summary personally offended Mueller, writing: “Members of the special counsel team would later describe Mueller’s reaction: He looked as if he’d been slapped.”
But it also said that, when Barr later called Mueller to discuss the dispute, the conversation ended on an “uplifting note.”