World

Trump assails ‘Fake Book’ as aide hails him a ‘political genius’

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump on Sunday slammed an explosive behind-the-scenes account that questions his fitness for office, calling it a "Fake Book" as allies lined up to defend the US leader.

The White House has been pushing back hard against the unflattering portrayal of the President in Fire And Fury, a supposed tell-all book by Michael Wolff that extensively quotes former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Mr Bannon, facing intense fire from the White House, issued a statement on Sunday expressing "unwavering" support for the President.

He said his reported criticism of a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer as "treasonous" was aimed mainly at another campaign aide who should have known the Russians "are not our friends".

But Mr Bannon's statement to the Axios news website did not specifically deny any of his reported comments, nor did it contain a forthright apology for his part in touching off the buzzsaw of criticism spawned by the book.

Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday that the instant bestseller - which paints him as disengaged, ill-informed and unstable, with signs of serious memory loss - was a "Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author".

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Senior Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller insisted that his boss was in fact "a political genius".

Wolff, Mr Miller said, "is a garbage author of a garbage book". He also assailed Mr Bannon, reportedly a key source for the author, as "vindictive" and "out of touch with reality".

Wolff defended his work on Sunday, telling NBC he "absolutely did not" violate any off-the-record agreements in his reporting but conceding, of the total three hours he said he spent with Mr Trump, that the President "probably did not think of them as interviews".

He also portrayed a high level of concern in the White House over whether Mr Trump risks being removed from office as unfit under the Constitution's 25th Amendment.

Ms Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, rejected that notion, telling ABC that no one at the White House "questions the stability of the President". She suggested Wolff was someone who would "lie for money and for power". - AFP

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