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‘Dangerously uninformed’ Trump ‘toyed with’ awarding himself the Medal of Freedom: report

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One of President Donald Trump’s most widely ridiculed assertions is that he is a “very stable genius,” and that line is used in an ironic way in the title of the forthcoming Philip Rucker/Carol D. Leonnig book, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America” — ironic because the book depicts Trump as being the opposite of stable during his time in the White House.

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The Washington Post has obtained a copy of the 417-page book, which has a Tuesday, January 21 release date on Amazon — and according to the Post’s Ashley Parker, “A Very Stable Genius” is full of “vivid details from Trump’s tumultuous first three years as president, from his chaotic transition before the taking office to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and final report.”

Rucker and Leonnig reveal in their book that Trump toyed with the idea of awarding himself the Medal of Freedom. Yet when it came to foreign policy, Trump was “at times, dangerously uninformed,” according to the long-time Washington Post reporters.

For example, Rucker and Leonnig report, Trump didn’t appear to fully understand the importance of Pearl Harbor when the president and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly were getting ready to privately tour the USS Arizona Memorial. Trump, according to Rucker and Leonnig, “had heard the phrase ‘Pearl Harbor’ and appeared to understand that he was visiting the scene of an historic battle, but he did not seem to know much else.”

When Trump met with Indian President Narendra Modi, according to Rucker and Leonnig, he told him, “It’s not like you’ve got China on your border.” But in fact, China is one of the countries India shares a border with.

Trump’s fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin is discussed in the book, and at one point, Trump declared himself to be more of an expert on Russia than former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who had extensive dealings with Putin during his years at Exxon.

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Rucker and Leonnig write, “Tillerson’s years of negotiating with Putin and studying his moves on the chessboard were suddenly irrelevant. ‘I have had a two-hour meeting with Putin,’ Trump told Tillerson. ‘That’s all I need to know … I’ve sized it all up. I’ve got it.’”

“A Very Stable Genius,” Parker notes, 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.”

Some of the anecdotes in the book, according to Parker, are more amusing than disturbing. In 2018, for example, Trump met with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to  discuss the possibility of Christie becoming the next White House chief of staff; Christie declined — and when Axios reported that the meeting had taken place, Christie wanted to know how the meeting had been leaked to the media. Only three people were present during the meeting: President Trump, Christie and First Lady Melania Trump.

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“Oh, I did it,” President Trump revealed.


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Furious Trump grilling aides on how impeachment is playing with voters: report

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According to a report in the New York Times, a furious Donald Trump spent Thursday afternoon huddled with close White House aides worrying how voters are reacting to his impeachment as it heads to a Senate trial.

Following an afternoon where he tweeted about how unfair the impeachment process has been ( “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!” he wrote) -- and snapping at reporters -- the Times reports the president later bunkered down with staffers to discuss what to do next.

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The Trump administration misled the country by saying there were ‘no casualties’ from Iran attack: report

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After Iran targeted missiles at U.S. military personnel in Iraq in retaliation for the kill of a top general, the Trump administration declared that there were no casualties from attack, and — at least for the time being — it allowed the conflict to de-escalate.

But on Thursday night, a new report from Defense One revealed the initial claim that there were “no casualties” from the attack was false. It reported that 11 U.S. troops were injured in the attack and taken to hospitals to be treated for “traumatic brain injury.”

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State of emergency: High tension in Virginia as right-wing gun fanatics descend on Richmond

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Buried under the cascade of serious national news Wednesday was the alarming story that Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia had declared a state of emergency through next Tuesday evening in Richmond, the state capital. The declaration includes a ban on firearms and other weapons near Capitol Square, where the Democratic-led state legislature meets. Monday is a scheduled "lobbying day" for the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a far right pro-gun group, and Northam's office announced that law enforcement has "identified credible threats of violence surrounding the event, along with white nationalist rhetoric and plans by out-of-state militia groups to attend."

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