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No Plans to Replace Mattis as SecDef, Trump Says

06 September 2018

But no sooner had the search for Woodward's sources begun than yet another devastating portrait of the President emerged, this time via a New York Times op-ed written by an unnamed senior Trump administration official.

Melania Trump says the anonymous author of a critical opinion piece about President Donald Trump is "sabotaging" the country through "cowardly actions".

Melania Trump refused to appear alongside her husband on TV as part of his damage-control efforts after he was heard uttering crude comments about women in the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, according to Bob Woodward's new tell-all about the president.

Hours after The Washington Post first reported several key incidents from Woodward's book, the administration issued a vigorous string of public denials, with statements from top advisers - White House Chief of Staff John F Kelly, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Sanders - as well as from Trump's former personal attorney John Dowd.

Aides to President Donald Trump were scrambling to ferret out the author of the piece and had begun dissecting the language in the article in an attempt to determine who wrote the article, which claims a coalition of officials work "diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations".

The senior official admits that there have been some positive steps taken by the administration (deregulation, tax reform etc), but hastens to add that these achievements have come "despite - not because of - the president's leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective".

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"I come from a place where if you're not in a position to execute the commander's intent, you have a singular option, that is to leave", he told reporters at an impromptu briefing at the USA embassy in New Delhi.

According to The Post, Woodward's book alleges that Mattis told associates of President Trump that the president had the understanding of "a fifth- or sixth-grader".

Particularly incendiary are the book's claims about the rocky relationship between Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding what the president views as his lack of action on the Russian Federation probe.

The author wrote that "there were early whispers within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But it is a sad statement".

Trump tweeted Wednesday evening.

"It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room".

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"We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers", the newspaper said.

"The book is fiction", Trump said Wednesday in the Oval Office alongside the Emir of Kuwait.

"Treason. Does the so-called senior administration official really exist, or is it just the Failing the New York Times with another phony source?"

The author called Trump "amoral", as well as "generally anti-trade and anti-democratic".

"The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States", the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said in a statement. "We're having victories that people don't even know about, and he's highly respected all over the world". But there is no such case for discouraging Americans from organizing politically to check the risky president's power - nor is there one for wanting an administration led by this president "to succeed".

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No Plans to Replace Mattis as SecDef, Trump Says