“Peril,” by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, hits shelves next week but is already generating buzz as excerpts and tidbits show what former president Donald Trump’s final days in office were like.
Here are a few takeaways from what has been released so far.
Trump threatened to unfriend former vice president Mike Pence
According to CNN, the book includes details of a meeting between Trump and his vice president on Jan. 5, one day before supporters of the then-president breached the Capitol in a deadly attempt to overturn President Joe Biden’s election win.
Trump’s pressure on Pence to help overturn the election was widely reported at the time, but in the meeting described in the book, the then-president said, “No, no, no! You don’t understand, Mike. You can do this. I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this.”
2. Dan Quayle advised Mike Pence that he had “no power” to overturn election
In the days leading up to Jan. 6, when Pence had to officially certify the election results making Biden the next president, the vice president repeatedly sought the advice of another Indiana Republican who had held his office — Dan Quayle, who served as VP under George H. W. Bush.
According to “Peril,” Quayle was unequivocal: “Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away.”
But Woodward and Costa report that Pence kept pressing on the issue with Quayle, adding, “You don’t know the position I’m in.”
Quayle again shut down any thought that the vice president could do anything but his ceremonial constitutional duty, the authors write. “I do know the position you’re in,” Quayle told Pence. “I also know what the law is. You listen to the parliamentarian. That’s all you do. You have no power.”
3. Gen. Mark Milley took independent action
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Trump’s top military adviser, was so worried by the events of Jan. 6 that he took action to make sure Trump couldn’t order any kind of military assault.
The same CNN review of the book revealed that the authors found Milley “‘was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies.”
Per the book, he had a Jan. 8 meeting with senior military officials in charge of the National Military Command Center and instructed them to take no orders unless he was involved.
4. Trump wanted troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by mid-January 2021
CNN’s review of “Peril” also included the fact that Milley discovered Trump had signed a military order to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by January 15, five days before he would leave office.
That obviously didn’t happen at the time, but did happen at the end of August, under President Biden.
5. Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump’s 2016 win
Paul Ryan, who was Speaker of the House in 2016 when Trump won the presidency, researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump’s surprise electoral win, according to a review of “Peril” from Business Insider.
Republicans controlled the House and Senate when Trump took office and Ryan, the top GOP official in the House, wanted to make sure he could deal with a leader who was “amoral and transactional,” the book says. He was contacted by a doctor and Republican donor who told him he needed to understand the disorder to do business with Trump.
The doctor emailed him articles and notes and “Ryan studied them for weeks, convinced Trump had the personality disorder,” according to the authors.