The New Year Rings In With 'Fire And Fury.' It Might Mean A Consequential 2018
So, 2018 picked up where 2017 left off with eye-popping palace intrigue mixed with the widening net of the Department of Justice's Russia investigation.
The week's highlights included tabloidlike, tell-all details from the new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House with explosive on-the-record and blind quotes from White House insiders. The president reacted by eviscerating his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, accusing him of losing his mind and branding him "Sloppy Steve."
I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist. Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
Some details in Michael Wolff's book, which among other things casts doubt on the president's competence and mental stability, have been questioned not only by the White House, but also by reporters. Wolff, though, says he has hours of audio recordings and defended the top-selling book in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered on Friday.
"When you write a book like this, people regret what they said to me," Wolff said. "What they say to any reporter who they relax with and they forget who they're talking to. I have sympathy for that, and I think the natural response is to say, 'Oh my god, I didn't say it.' But I will tell you, they said it."
And then there was a bombshell report from The New York Times about how Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe may be targeting the president for obstruction of justice over his attempts to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the investigation. The Times reported that Trump dispatched White House counsel Don McGahn to try to stop Sessions from going through with it. It didn't work, and Trump was furious. He believed, according to the Times, that the attorney general's job was to protect the president.
For his part, Trump sees it all as politically motivated, tweeting Friday:
Well, now that collusion with Russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with Hillary Clinton and the FBI/Russia, the Fake News Media (Mainstream) and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. They should try winning an election. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018
It was a remarkable week and start to the new year that could portend a politically consequential 2018.
Here's a day-by-day look back at the week:
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
(By the way, 10 years ago on this day, Barack Obama's path to the presidency took a giant leap forward with his win in the Iowa caucuses.)
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