The details in a new book about Donald Trump’s last days as president reveal a situation so precarious, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was actively taking steps to assure congressional leaders that a nuclear strike would not be possible.

During an interview Wednesday night on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” reporter Jamie Gangel spoke in-depth about General Mark Milley’s on-the-record remarks in the new book, “I Alone Can Fix It,” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. You can watch the entire segment above, and we recommend you do, to get a true sense of the fear in Washington as Trump’s time in office was coming to an end.

According to the authors, Milley and other military leaders took it upon themselves to start strategizing how to prevent what they feared would be a “coup” by Trump and his allies, an uprising meant to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power that has been a bedrock of American democracy. One quote in the book underscores Milley’s determination to prevent this from happening.

“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed.”

Gangel says Milley certainly cooperated with the book, and there may be a certain amount of image repair going on. His reputation did take a hit after he took part in a controversial photo-op with the President after protesters were cleared from the square outside the White House. But while the specific details revealed in the book are disturbing, the general ideas are not surprising for anyone who paid attention to Trump’s chaotic presidency, and especially his lame-duck last two months in office.

It’s why a separate CNN analysis suggests the danger our system of government, our democracy, could face if Trump is able to return to the White House in 2024. This portion is particularly troubling:

There can be little doubt that if he is ever again in a position of supreme power, the twice-impeached former President would be similarly erratic and lawless as he was in office. His behavior since returning to private life proves it.
New details of his past malfeasance come as Trump and his supporters actively seek to whitewash the truth of the insurrection that he incited against the US Capitol as Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory on January 6. The former President still has most of the Washington Republican Party — which acted to excuse his assault on democracy — in thrall to his personality cult. Millions of his voters believe his lies about non-existent voter fraud spread by propagandistic right-wing media networks.
…events since have shown that the danger did not pass when Trump left the White House on the morning of January 20. In fact, a new threat is rising given the still vast political influence of a modern American demagogue.