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From ‘A Very Stable Genius,’ Five Crazy Trump Tales

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.”

What Donald Trump Jr’s Book Tells Us About Him — And His Family

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Donald Trump Junior’s Triggered is quite a book, rich with insights, all of them unintended.

The subtitle of Triggered is “How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.”

What the text shows is that it is Junior who spews hate, mixed with an unhealthy dose of made-up facts to justify his anger. That’s just the kind of hypocrisy the Trumps spin inside their fantasy bubble, where anyone who questions what they do is unworthy of being heard.

The words put down for Junior by a host of Hachette editors, identified only by first name, show that he lives in a black-and-white world with never a hint of gray.

Just the kind of hypocrisy the Trumps spin inside their fantasy bubble, where anyone who questions what they do is unworthy of being heard.

“The whole world was against us” in the early days of the 2016 campaign, Junior asserts.

“All the experts” agree with him. Anyone who wants universal health care is a socialist.

The Trumps are the champion of union members, the Democrats their enemy.

The Democrats are all lazy while Junior “worked night and day” for five years on his father’s Chicago hotel, which based on falling occupancy could reasonably be described as his father’s failing Chicago hotel.

There’s no evidence of popular demand for Triggered. It is only thanks to bulk purchases by the Republican National Committee and others that Junior’s book briefly made the top of The New York Times bestseller list.

It’s since been succeeded at the top. A Warning by Anonymous, which I wrote about last month, made No. 1 because actual readers bought it one copy at a time.

Flattering Himself

Throughout, Junior flatters himself relentlessly even as he inflates minor incidents and fabricates or, as Kellyanne Conway famously said, proffers “alternative facts.”

Despite evidence to the contrary—like indictments and convictions of others—Junior says that he was “probably number two” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s “kill list.” Similarly, he wants us to believe that he is a subject of public fascination exceeded only by his father.

The love of money permeates Junior’s book. Reverence for money runs strong in that family, patriotism not so much.

Getting Choked Up

As he watched his father place a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Junior writes that he got all choked up. But it wasn’t the sacrifices of the more than 400,000 Americans buried at Arlington that stirred his emotions.

“In that moment,” he wrote, “I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed—voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off the office’.”

He writes that his 1977 birth was accompanied by fireworks, though they had nothing to do with him. He writes of traveling to Czechoslovakia at age five to spend a few months with his maternal grandparents, where he recalls a border officer objected to his coat. “I remember looking around the room and seeing how afraid all the Czech citizens were on my behalf,” he says, because of course a little boy in a room of strangers coming off an airplane would be the center of everyone’s attention.

Rewriting History

Junior doesn’t limit himself to rewriting personal history. His cartoon version of the Sixties had me laughing out loud.

At page 112 Junior writes that “JFK would be considered alt-right today.”

He describes President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs as an attempt to “appease the New Left by ushering through a socialist agenda” with food stamps, universal medical care for older Americans and minimal gun controls. Never mind that Johnson had been engaged in how to address poverty since 1928 when he taught poor Mexican-American children in a Texas border town.

Junior then asserts that “the hippies of the New Left had traded their peace signs for raised fists and terrorist organizations.” Ah, to live inside such a simplistic, ahistorical bubble of Trumpian nonsense.

Promoting Bad Manners

Junior complains about “political correctness.” And just what does that term mean? To Junior, it is an epithet that reveals how those he detests are weak-minded, oppressive and liberal.

Without saying so directly, Junior establishes his dislike of good manners and civility, which is what political correctness is about, flaws and all. Junior offers a dog whistle to those white Americans who believe they are oppressed because in decent society one can’t use racial and religious slurs without consequences.

“The Democrat Party,” Junior writes, “has tilted so far to the left that it threatens to collapse any day.”

He wrote that, or agreed to what others wrote for him, months after the Democratic Party (its correct name) won the House in 2018 by garnering nine million more votes than Republicans. That supposedly failing political party has a growing roster of registered voters and a growing list of wins in elections, some of them in deep red states like Alabama.

A Pre-Birth Miracle

But wait, Junior gets even crazier in making stuff up.

He describes President Franklin D. Roosevelt as “the man who practically invented the labor union.” Never mind that the first recorded union strike in America took place in 1768, more than a century before the patrician FDR’s birth in 1882.

There are bits of fact and truth in the book. Junior says his father has “almost completely reconfigured” the Republican Party in just three years. That’s true.

But then Junior undoes this by asserting that the pre-Trump GOP existed as “a political entity, frankly, was headed toward extinction.”

Never mind that Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House during the first half of Trump’s presidency and yet failed to accomplish anything but a huge increase in future taxes by going on a military spending binge and borrowing cast sums to create the appearance of income tax cuts.

Since 2016 the GOP has been shrinking, down now to only 29 percent of voters. That’s almost identical to the 28 percent of voters who declare themselves independent of both major parties.

Chased Off Stage

Books have been important sources of unvarnished Trumpian facts. The father, for example, spent pages in his book Think Big denouncing Christians as “fools,” “idiots” and “schmucks” while declaring his life philosophy is a single word, “revenge.” He details the pleasure he says he gets from ruining the lives of those who don’t do what he wants. All of that, of course, is decidedly anti-Christian.

The elder Trump brags about cheating his partners in his first casino deal, and cheating at golf, in his bestseller The Art of the Deal. That, too, is incompatible with his claim to be a Christian. And so is his statement that he has never sought forgiveness from God because he has never done anything that would require forgiveness. There’s that fantasy Trumpian bubble again.

Junior complains that “the Left” wants to silence him and others who fashion themselves as conservatives. “Fashion” is the right word here because Donald Trump is anything but a conservative, as many conservative writers, theorists and publications have documented.

Still, when it comes to Junior’s claim that there are people who want to silence him, he has a point. It’s just not the point he intends.

On his book tour an angry audience forced Trump and his girlfriend to flee a stage in that center of liberal thinking, Berkeley, Calif.

The audience that the couple triggered was not composed of Democrats, socialists, leftists or even Republicans. The anger mob was composed of Americans so far on the right that they think Junior and his dad are softies on immigration.

Irony, Donald Trump Jr., is thy champion.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Separate Bedrooms, Coolness To Ivanka Revealed In New Melania Bio

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Compared to first ladies of the past — whether it was Betty Ford, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton or Nancy Davis Reagan — Melania Knavs Trump has kept a relatively low profile. As a result, there is a lot of speculation about the 49-year-old native of Slovenia. But CNN reporter Kate Bennett, in her new book, Free, Melania, offers some insights — and the New York Times’ Elizabeth Egan lists some of those insights in a December 2 article.

One insight, Egan notes, is that “there are no coincidences when it comes to the first lady’s clothing.” In her book, Bennett writes, “I have a theory that when the Trumps are unhappy with each other, Melania wears menswear — because Trump notoriously likes to see women in tight, short, uber-sexy and feminine dresses.”

The second insight, according to one of Bennett’s sources, is that the relationship between White House Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump and her stepmother is “cordial, not close.” And the third insight, in Egan’s words, is that “Be Best isn’t a thing.” According to Bennett, the “likelihood that” Melania Trump’s child-focused Be Best campaign “will ever have the impact of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign or Nancy Reagan’s Just Say No is slim to none.”

In November, the first lady was hospitalized in Boston to treat a kidney infection. And according to Egan, a fourth insight from Bennett’s book is that the infection was not a minor issue. In Free, Melania, Bennett writes, “There was concern that if her recuperation was not careful and extended, her type of condition could possibly result in the loss of her kidney.”

The fifth insight is that the first lady and Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, “are not close.” When the two landed in Texas for a visit, Egan notes, the first lady “did not bring Mrs. Pence into her spacious cabin.”

Finally, the sixth insight is that Melania Trump has her own room in the White House, where she is staying in a room that under President Barack Obama, was occupied by Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson.