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US President Donald Trump wanted to have Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assassinated past year but his defense secretary ignored the request, according to a new book by famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward.

Trump called the allegation that officials removed paperwork from his desk to prevent him from signing it "false" and "made up".

Bob Woodward has a new book out next week detailing the madness inside the White House, and parts of it emerged in The Washington Post today.

How has the president responded?

White House aides on Tuesday coordinated with other officials quoted in the book to dispute troublesome passages. Mattis on Tuesday issued a statement that forcefully denied Woodward's account.

"I have not once ever heard the president talk about assassinating Assad", Haley told Al Jazeera correspondent James Bays. "This is a pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump".

This amounts to an "administrative coup d'état", Woodward says.

Mattis also reportedly had to rein in US policy after a phone call in which the president supposedly ranted about wanting to "f*cking kill" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. When Trump tells Mattis he wants Assad killed, Woodward reports, Mattis promises that he'll get right on it before telling his staff that they'll pursue no such thing.

"Let's f*****g kill him!"

Mattis told associates after a separate incident that Trump acted like "a fifth- or sixth-grader", according to the book.

The White House is a "crazytown" ruled by plots, paranoia and power-trips, according to a new book by veteran reporter Bob Woodward.

Mr Cohn allegedly was "appalled" by a draft letter formalising America's withdrawal from a trade agreement with South Korea and so "stole it" from Mr Trump's desk.

"It felt like we were walking along the edge of the cliff perpetually", Mr Porter is quoted as saying. "This is the worst job I've ever had", the book quotes Kelly as saying according to unnamed sources. Trump puffed up his chest to imitate former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and likened his former chief of staff Reince Priebus to "a little rat" who "scurries around". "But never once - never - did I think Woodward made it up".

It would be hard to find a journalist with greater credentials.

He is certainly one of the most respected and well-informed political analysts. Trump complained about not being able to give his side of the story, even though Woodward explained that he tried reaching out multiple times. I'm tough as hell on people & if I weren't, nothing would get done.

President Donald Trump speaks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in Washington, May 15, 2017. The Post released a transcript of their phone call. "I am into fiction like General Mattis, so maybe I'll take a look at this one".

Trump's comments Tuesday followed a pair of statements the White House released generally panning the book.

Woodward said he asked Kellyanne Conway and others with the White House for access to the president but was rejected.

"The things I see coming out of this White House are the president delivering on historic tax cuts, delivering on building a booming economy, delivering on rebuilding our military, delivering on remaking the judiciary, delivering on cutting regulation after regulation".

Trump added: "He couldn't even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama". He said in an interview with The Daily Caller, "There was nobody taking anything from me".