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CNN has published new excerpts from a new book, “The Divider,” by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker and New Yorker staff writer and CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser. The book sheds light on many areas where the country was much closer to disaster than we on the outside knew, including a possible bombing at the end of the term and the fact that Trump’s intelligence director wondered what Putin “had on Trump.”
The book describes the end of the term as one fraught with tension, including deep concerns among Trump’s national security team, led by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and others, that Trump would start a military conflict – perhaps a bombing campaign – with Iran in the waning days of his presidency or that he could stumble into a nuclear war with North Korea.
One administration official told Trump before the 2020 election that if he lost, he should strike Iran’s nuclear program, the authors report. “Milley at the time told his staff it was a ‘What the f— are these guys talking about?’ moment,” they write. “Now, it seemed frighteningly possible.”
The tensions with Iran even permeated the walls of Mar-a-Lago. Trump told guests at a cocktail party over the holidays in 2020 that he was leaving early to return to Washington because of fears Iran may be trying to assassinate him to avenge the US killing of the country’s top general a year earlier.
It is so ironic that Trump was worried about Iran trying to assassinate him after he practically forced COVID into the White House and into himself to the point that he came much closer to dying than the media knew at the time and – during the same Christmas 2020 period, Trump was making plans to lay siege on the Capitol to try to steal the 2020 election.
Another revelation from the book comes out of the disastrous 2018 Helsinki trip, during which Trump sided with Putin over his own intelligence agencies. Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence, the guy who is supposed to know these things, wondered what Putin had on Trump:
“I never could come to a conclusion. It raised the question in everybody’s mind: What does Putin have on him that causes him to do something that undermines his credibility?” Dan Coats, the then-director of national intelligence, reflected to associates afterward, according to the book.
So during the Trump administration, he had his military leaders terrified that he would stumble into a war in the last days of his administration just to go out with a bang. During the middle of his term, his own intelligence people assumed Putin “had something on Trump” but didn’t know what it might be even thought the same question was in everyone’s mind.
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, and currently studies philosophy of science, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.