Trump Attacked Generals as Weak and Too Focused on Allies, Woodward’s Book Says

Describing their chemistry to Mr. Woodward, Mr. Trump said: “You meet a woman. In one second, you know whether or not it’s going to happen. It doesn’t take you 10 minutes and it doesn’t take you six weeks. It’s like, whoa. OK. You know? It takes somewhat less than a second.”

Mr. Coats, who learned he was being fired from his position in July 2019 from a New York Times article that posted online while he was on the golf course at Mr. Trump’s private club, was chewed out by Mr. Trump after a briefing with reporters about the threat that Russia presented to the nation’s elections systems. Mr. Coats had gone further than he and the president had discussed beforehand.

“What was that briefing?” he asked, apparently upset about all the focus on Russia. “Why’d you do that?”

Mr. Trump complained about the various investigations into his campaign and Russia and, according to the book, leaned on Mr. Coats to either curtail the federal investigation or to publicly echo the conclusions of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation that there was no conspiracy. Mr. Coats tried to explain that that was beyond what he had visibility into, according to the book.

At one point, Mr. Trump moaned that the investigations were hindering his abilities as president.

“Putin said to me in a meeting, he said, it’s a shame, because I know it’s very hard for you to make a deal with us. I said, you’re right,” Mr. Trump said.

In one meeting, Mr. Trump had the White House deputy chief of staff, Dan Scavino, play a spliced video, for the president’s amusement, of the special counsel who investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Robert S. Mueller III, stumbling as he testified before Congress. Mr. Scavino then played a separate video of Democrats watching Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address. Some looked bored, Mr. Woodward writes, but Mr. Trump shouted, “They hate me!” and kept watching.

Mr. Woodward repeatedly tried to coax a reflective answer from Mr. Trump about his presidency and his understanding of race in America. But Mr. Trump would only say over and over that the economy had been positive for Black people before the coronavirus led to an economic crisis.

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