The world got an in-depth and unvarnished look at the inner workings of the Trump White House last week, as excerpts from Michael Wolff's new insider book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" were published.
One conservative critic of Trump, writing in The New York Times, once suggested invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president, but now says it's probably fantasy. Wolff writes that Ailes, after his dismissal from Fox News, told Bannon at a dinner that Trump "would jump through hoops for Rupert". Indeed, the book paints a portrait of Trump that had become prevalent: that of a dissengaged, self-obsessed chief executive.
In fact, it was Trump aide Stephen Miller who was assigned to defend to White House on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. He later called the alt-right "a collection of clowns". Without naming names, he said the word in the West Wing is Trump is "bouncing off the walls" because of the book.
"Brietbart certainly defined his job as being something of a rhetorical bombthrower, usually aimed at the left or those within the Republican and conservative establishments that he saw as insufficiently devoted to his brand, and his version of conservatism". The Mercer family, particularly Rebekah's father Robert, was a primary source of funding for many of Bannon's ventures.
Both sides are thus confirmed in their prior assumptions: It reinforces Trump's opponents in their negative opinion of the president, and Trump's supporters in their negative opinions of the media. Trump has already had more vacation time than any other president in history and appears to spend most of his days in front of the TV. And the White House press is perhaps the worst offender.
You know what journalists tend to do?
Inside the White House, Bannon was viewed as the keeper of Trump's nationalistic flame, charting the progress on the president's promises to his base on dry erase boards in his office.
Those remarks prompted the president to declare that Bannon had "lost his mind".
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Mercer publicly broke from Bannon in a statement last week after months of distancing herself from him.
Bannon previously chaired Breitbart from 2012 to 2016.
Bannon mocked Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump Jr.as being part of a "brain trust" and called a meeting they had with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya "treasonous" and "unpatriotic". If you were an immigration hawk, you thought Trump was the only one who would secure the border.
But Wolff's yearlong documentation is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a president who is mercurial, vindictive and vacillates between unearned overconfidence and overwhelming insecurity. Kelly said Trump did not seem angry and on Friday night had watched a new movie, "The Greatest Showman" about legendary circus promoter P.T. Barnum, with the lawmakers. So the writing was there.
Instead, McNamara's letter reads, the letter from Trump's legal team "appears to be created to silence legitimate criticism" and was "the antithesis of an actionable libel claim".
FOLKENFLIK: Well, Bannon sort of sees himself as something of a messianic figure.
Some of the findings were known, like Trump's insistence that the infamous Billy Bush "Access Hollywood" tape was altered. When Trump was a candidate in 2016, he released a letter from his personal doctor that claimed he was in "excellent health".
MICHAEL WOLFF: I think it was of real concern to Steve. Is it Bannon? Is it Breitbart?
Numerous bombshells in the book come from quotes by Bannon. Breitbart's own traffic has gone down significantly since the election and over the first year in office - the Trump White House. But then it was Bannon and Kellyanne. He knows his time is - you know, he knows he's not a 35-year-old. What do we learn from all this? "I think he's had a very successful 2017".