USA TODAY has obtained a copy of A Warning, a book written by a self-described senior official in the Trump administration. The author paints a scathing portrait of a president and administration in chaos. The White House has denounced the book as a work of fiction, with Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham saying, "the coward who wrote this book didn't put their name on it because it is nothing but lies."
Some key excerpts:
On the transition to the White House
"Advisors brandished their knives, back-stabbing each other to get the jobs they wanted.
At the same time, a parade of job-seekers made the pilgrimage to Trump Tower in New York to pay homage to the incoming commander in chief, seeking a place on his short list. Most had conveniently changed their minds about the president-elect. Factions formed. Conspiracies to undermine potential candidates - while boosting others - were hatched and dissolved, sometimes in the same day. There was the Kushner camp, the
Bannon camp, the Conway camp, and others such as Penceland or the so-called Flynn-stones, acolytes of the anointed national security advisor. They were united at times and divided at others. This was a real-life version of The Apprentice."
'Anonymous' author:: Trump 'will not exit quietly,' even if defeated or impeached
On the courts
"The president has proposed doing away with judges on more than one occasion. Too many of his policies are getting stuck in legal limbo, he says. "Can we just get rid of the judges? Let's get rid of the f---ing judges," Trump fumed one morning. "There shouldn't be any at all, really." He went a step further and asked his legal team to draft up a bill and send it to Congress to reduce the number of federal judges. Staff ignored the outburst and the wacky request."
On shooting migrants
"In fact, it was Trump himself the previous year who suggested shooting immigrants found crossing the border. Yes, shooting them, real human beings, with bullets from guns held by members of our armed forces. 'They are throwing rocks viciously and violently,' he said, discussing an incoming caravan of people, most of whom were
fleeing poverty. They'd been on the march for weeks and had gotten past Mexican authorities. 'We are not going to put up with that. If they want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.'
On Russian President Vladimir Putin
"The president's obvious admiration for Vladimir Putin ('great guy,' 'terrific person') still continues to puzzle us, including those on the team who shrug off his outlandish behavior. Where did the Putin hero worship come from? It's almost as if Trump is the scrawny kid trying to suck up to the bully on the playground. Commentators have speculated, without any evidence, that Moscow must 'have something' on the president. I wish I could say. All I know is that whatever drives his love for Putin, it's terrible for the United States because Vladimir is not on our side and no US president should be building him up."
On Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner
"Jared is a likable person, a youthful and energetic advisor and an empathetic listener. However, when the secretary of defense is cut out of Jared's meetings regarding a crucial part of the world, or the national security advisor isn't back-briefed on an important conversation Kushner has with a foreign ambassador, it can cause problems, sometimes big problems. It isn't clear the president is satisfied that so many issues run through his son-in-law's office, but the arrangement persists because Jared is careful to always demonstrate loyalty to his wife's father, even at the expense of his standing among other top officials. Thus, the unclear and unhealthy lanes of authority persist."
On Hillary Clinton
"Trump remains fixated on his previous presidential rival years into his tenure, continuously disparaging and demeaning her. It might be a different situation if he expected to face off again with Hillary Clinton, yet she appears to be finished with public office. Don't get me wrong. No one in the Trump White House is a fan of Hillary Clinton, but we started to find the president's chronic animosity toward her to be a little weird. He has tweeted about Clinton hundreds of times since taking office. He has even flirted with using the powers of his office to investigate and prosecute her. ... Electoral defeat is not enough; Donald Trump wants total defeat of his opponents."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Anonymous book: Excerpts of Trump on Putin, Pence, Hillary, migrants