Daily News Roundup

September 5, 2018

Image: ABC News

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

A new book by a reporter who helped bring down former US president Richard Nixon is roiling the White House, with current and former aides of President Donald Trump quoted as calling him an “idiot” and admitting they snatched sensitive documents off his desk to keep him from taking rash actions.

The book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward is the latest to throw the Trump administration into damage-control with explosive anecdotes and concerns about the commander in chief.

The Post on Tuesday (local time) published details from Fear: Trump in the White House, the Watergate reporter’s forthcoming examination of Mr Trump’s first 18 months in office, reports theABC.

Publication of Woodward’s book has been anticipated for weeks, and current and former White House officials estimate that nearly all their colleagues cooperated with the famed Watergate journalist.

The White House, in a statement from press secretary Sarah Sanders, dismissed the book as “nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad”.

The book says chief of staff John Kelly had doubts about Mr Trump’s mental faculties, and declared during one meeting, “we’re in Crazytown”.

It also says he called Mr Trump an “idiot,” an account that Mr Kelly denied.

“The idea I ever called the President an idiot is not true,” Mr Kelly said in a statement.

The book says that Mr Trump’s former lawyer in the Russia probe, John Dowd, doubted the President’s ability to avoid perjuring himself should he be interviewed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and potential coordination with Mr Trump’s campaign. Mr Dowd stepped down in January.

“Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit,” Mr Dowd is quoted telling the President.

Mr Dowd, in a statement, said “no so-called ‘practice session’ or ‘re-enactment'” took place, and denied saying that Mr Trump was likely to end up in an orange jumpsuit.

Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis is quoted explaining to Mr Trump why the US maintains troops on the Korean Peninsula to monitor North Korea’s missile activities.

“We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Mr Mattis said, according to the book.

The book recounts that Mr Mattis told “close associates that the President acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader'”.

The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?

Mr Woodward reported that after Syria’s Bashar Assad launched a chemical weapons attack on civilians in April 2017, Mr Trump called Mr Mattis and said he wanted the Syrian leader taken out, saying, “kill him! Let’s go in”.

Mr Mattis assured Mr Trump he would get right on it, but then told a senior aide they would do nothing of the kind, Mr Woodward wrote. National security advisers instead developed options for the airstrike that Mr Trump ordered.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dumped the plan to raise the pension age to 70, announcing the decision on breakfast television even before Cabinet has formally agreed to it.

It was one of the issues on which Labor had repeatedly attacked the Government, especially highlighting the impact for people with physically difficult jobs.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey announced the plan to lift the pension age from 67 to 70 in his controversial 2014 budget in a bid to help fund the cost of the ageing population.

The Senate has refused to ever agree to legislation to formalise the change, but until today the Government had stuck to the policy.

Mr Morrison told Channel Nine he did not think the measure was needed anymore.

“It is one of the things I will be changing pretty quickly,” Mr Morrison told Channel Nine this morning after facing a question on it from a viewer.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said overturning the previous policy it was a “pragmatic, sensible move”.

“I think if you are a tradie, or a brickie or a shearer in rural and regional Australia you don’t want some suit in Canberra telling you you are going to have to work until you’re 70,” Mr McCormack told Sky.

“It’s hard, back-breaking work what a lot of our people do and I think being told that they are going to have to work until 70 I think was probably a step too far.”

It is the first major policy backdown Mr Morrison has made since becoming PM.

“I was going to say this next week, but I may as well say it here, I have already consulted my colleagues on that and next week Cabinet will be ratifying a decision to reverse taking the retirement age to 70.

It will remain at 67, which is what Labor increased it to.

“The pension age going to 70, gone,” Mr Morrison said.

The pension age has already started going up from 65.

People turning 66 in the first half of next year will have to wait until July to qualify for the pension.

The next stage kicks in from July 2021 when the age to qualify for the age pension goes up to 66 years and six months.

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By The new spokesman for Western Australia’s public high school principals has a simple message for parents behaving badly at schools, writes the ABC’s Rebecca Carmody

“Stop treating schools like they’re the enemy and start working with them.”

Armando Giglia is the new president of the WA Secondary School Executives Association (WASSEA), which represents principals and deputies at the state’s 166 public high schools.

In his first comments in the role, the teacher of almost 40 years has taken aim at pushy and disrespectful parents, claiming some see schools as an easy target and often spoil for a fight.

Mr Giglia said while 95 per cent of parents did the right thing, the remaining 5 per cent had become a significant problem for school leaders, putting them under unnecessary strain.

“They’re sometimes quite fired up and they’ll abuse front office staff, they’ll abuse anyone who comes within reach of them basically,” he said.

“They’ll post things online, rather than coming in and talking.

“They’ll try and send things through to a regional office or to the minister’s office without actually bothering to come to the school first, which creates its own angst for the school, when really a civil approach to the school in the first place would have worked it all out.

“But some people don’t want that concern to really be sorted out, what they’re after is a bit of a stoush and I don’t know why.”

Mr Giglia took up his new role in May, relinquishing his position as foundation principal of Butler College, one of the biggest high schools in WA.

Before then he was principal at Mirrabooka Senior High School from 2002-2011 and deputy at Geraldton Senior High School, in a teaching career that began in 1979.

Mr Giglia said while this group of troublesome parents was happy to “argue the toss on anything”, they mostly complained about their children’s results, homework and the meting out of punishment.

“Some of the parents don’t understand the things their kids could get up to,” he said.

“‘My little Johnny is never wrong, my little Johnny would never do that,’ and yet we know that they do.

“I’ve been in situations where we’ve actually shown parents video evidence of something happening … and they still deny that it could have been them or [they believe] somebody must have pushed their child into doing it.”

“They don’t want to accept responsibility.”

 

This daily news roundup is curated with stories from ABC NEWS.

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