Michael Wolff's 'Landslide' recounts Trump's Brett Kavanaugh rant, fury at Netanyahu
- Michael Wolff's "Landslide" reveals Donald Trump's rant on Brett Kavanaugh: 'very disappointed.'
- Wolff recounts a fight between "insiders" like Jared Kushner, and "outsiders" like Rudy Giuliani.
- Trump was furious with Attorney General William Barr for not doing more on alleged election fraud.
- Benjamin Netanyahu's acknowledgement of Joe Biden's win enraged Trump.
Michael Wolff's newest book and the last in a trilogy, “Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency,” gives an inside account of the chaotic end of the Trump administration, describing how the former president was seduced into falsely believing he won the 2020 presidential election.
Wolff, the author of the best-selling “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” spoke to Trump, along with several White House aides, whom he quotes extensively in "Landslide." It is the third book Wolff has written on Trump, after 2019's “Siege: Trump Under Fire."
In "Landslide," Wolff recounts several anecdotes that portray an increasingly paranoid and isolated Trump during and after the election. Wolff says events in the book involving Trump's staff were confirmed by several sources and Trump's office provided a detailed summary of much of the material in his book.
The book opens with Trump's belief that Democrats wanted him to attack Joe Biden during the presidential campaign, so they could replace him with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former first lady Michelle Obama as vice president.
Later in the book, Trump lashes out at U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after the high court thwarts a lawsuit that would overturn the results of the election.
"I am very disappointed in him, in his rulings," Trump told Wolff during an interview at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. In a long-winded rant, Trump said he "saved" Kavanaugh's life and "fought for that guy and kept him" when he nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court over the objections of others.
“I might as well tell you — Kavanaugh. Practically every senator called me, including Crazy Mitch, and said, ‘Cut him loose, sir, cut him loose. He’s killing us, Kavanaugh’," Wolff wrote.
Trump says he also felt betrayed by the other two justices he nominated to the high court, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.
Notable in Wolff's book is the fight between the "insiders" led by Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who accept that Trump lost the election, and the "outsiders," led by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other conspiracy theorists who cling to the lie that the election was stolen from Trump.
Bender's Trump book:'Anarchy and chaos': Michael Bender book describes turmoil in Trump White House
Trump's desperate attempts to hold onto power
Despite wide acceptance that Biden had won the 2020 presidential election, Trump and ardent supporters such as Giuliani wrongly insisted Trump was the true winner.
Trump, Wolff alleges, turned his ire and fury on his Attorney General William Barr for not doing more to help him win. Trump blamed Barr when U.S. attorneys in swing states resisted Trump's pressure to open investigations into election fraud.
“Why won’t Barr investigate the fraud ... and the machines? Where is Barr? ... Why doesn’t he ever do anything?... When are we going to see something?... Was Jeff Sessions even this slow?” Trump wondered to his aides in late November.
Wolff alleges Trump instructed the White House Counsel’s Office to call Barr and figure out what he was doing to help.
Barr refused to bend to Trump's will, telling the Associated Press on Dec. 1, “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” A few weeks later, Barr resigned.
More:'It's just a joke': Former AG William Barr derided Trump's false election claims
Who is leading the country during false claims of election fraud? Not Trump
As Trump was increasingly focused on proving he was cheated out of reelection, the day-to-day matters of leading the country were ignored, according to Wolff.
"All daily briefings were canceled, including national security briefings. All efforts to return his attention to pandemic issues, vaccine rollout, or critical intelligence failed," Wolff writes.
It was Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, who quietly took over. In an attempt not to enrage Trump, "Meadows effectively assuming all executive functions — or at least those that could be carried on in secret," Wolff writes.
Meadows began the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, which included intelligence briefings, transition meetings, opening communication with Biden aides and "integrating the Biden team into the White House’s daily COVID planning and strategy meetings."
More:Emails: Trump White House pressured Justice Department to back claims of voter fraud
Trump angered by Benjamin Netanyahu congratulating Biden
In the aftermath of the election, international leaders perfunctorily expressed their congratulations to Biden. Some leaders such as Fiji's prime minister offered good wishes to Biden before the race was even formally called.
Surprising his aides, Trump saved his wrath for then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu reached out to Biden around 12 hours after the election was called, Wolff writes. To Trump the outreach came before “the ink was dry,” and "was an ultimate betrayal," Wolff alleges.
According to Wolff, Trump was incensed, given the fact that "he had singularly done more for Israel than any American president."
More:Rupert Murdoch made the decision to call Arizona for Biden, new book says. Fox News denies the allegations.
More news gathered from 'Landslide'
- After then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged Biden's win on Dec. 15, Trump unloaded on McConnell during a phone call. The conversation was "a road-rage confrontation, escalating in seconds from zero to sixty, with Trump heaping obscenities on the Republican leader and assailing his honesty, competence, patriotism, and manhood," Wolff recounts.
- The Jan. 6 protests that led to the infamous U.S. Capitol riot were originally seen as campaign fundraising for 2022. Organizers of the rally where Trump spoke had "a direct financial interest in the day’s events and in future dealings with the Trump money machine," Wolff alleges.
- Trump considered pardoning Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. “'Has she said anything about me?' He (Trump) openly wondered. 'Is she going to talk? Will she roll on anybody?'” Wolff wrote.
- David Schoen, one of Trump's lawyers during his second impeachment, didn't have any staff or support when he signed on to defend Trump. Schoen also called himself a "wimp" when Trump pressured him to speak during the trial.