A new book by New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Michael Schmidt says that Donald Trump offered the job of FBI Director to John Kelly, who was at the time head of the Department of Homeland Security. One catch; Trump demanded total loyalty to him. Axios’ Jonathan Swan has obtained excerpts of Schmidt’s book, “Donald Trump v. United States.”
- “Kelly immediately realized the problem with Trump’s request for loyalty, and he pushed back on the president’s demand,” Schmidt writes.
- “Kelly said that he would be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, but he refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump.”
Axios reports the previously unreported conversation was kept from Special Counsel Robert Mueller by Trump’s lawyers. It jibes with the information James Comey has said about Trump demanding total loyalty.
“Schmidt reports that “throughout Kelly’s time working directly with Trump, Kelly was repeatedly struck by how Trump failed to understand how those who worked for him — like Kelly and other top former generals — had interest in being loyal not to him, but to the institutions of American democracy.”
Schmidt also writes that White House counsel Don McGhan sent a memo to John Kelly arguing that Jared Kushner’s security clearance should be downgraded.
”Schmidt reports directly from the confidential McGahn memo for the first time, describing how Kelly had serious concerns about granting Kushner a top-secret clearance in response to a briefing he had received related to the routine FBI investigation into Kushner’s background.
“The information you were briefed on one week ago and subsequently relayed to me, raises serious additional concerns about whether this individual ought to retain a top security clearance until such issues can be investigated and resolved,” McGahn wrote in the memo to Kelly.
The details of the intelligence was not revealed.