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Tipsheet

'A Work in Progress': Upcoming Book Highlights Even MORE Drama Between Biden and Harris

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

It's hardly been a secret that there's been tension between President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, though he still picked her as his running mate to check off boxes. A new upcoming book that was obtained by POLITICO points to even more drama, though, as Biden thought of her as a "work in progress."

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As highlighted in POLITICO's Tuesday night edition of West Wing Playbook: 

According to an upcoming book about the Biden presidency obtained by West Wing Playbook, “The Fight of His Life,” word got back to him that second gentleman DOUGLAS EMHOFF had been complaining about Harris’ policy portfolio — which her allies felt was hurting her politically. “Biden was annoyed,” wrote author CHRIS WHIPPLE, who obtained extensive access to Biden administration officials while writing the book. “He hadn’t asked Harris to do anything he hadn’t done as vice president — and she’d begged him for the voting rights assignment.”

Biden wasn’t alone. A senior White House adviser vented that “[Harris’] inner circle didn’t serve her well in the presidential campaign — and they are ill-serving her now.”

The incompetence that we continue to hear about from the vice president is stunning. What did she and her husband expect her to do? It also highlights a pattern of problems with Harris' "inner circle," many of whom have dropped like flies when it comes to their short tenure working for her. Harris is also reportedly a very difficult person to work for, according to multiple outlets, such as POLITICO, and other outlets also considered friendly to Democrats. 

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Speaking of the Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, while Harris is expected to once more be Biden's running mate in 2024, her husband has reportedly encouraged Democrats to unite behind her if Biden doesn't run, as Madeline highlighted last month. 

The book, "The Fight of His Life" by Chris Whipple, is due out on January 17. While our friends at Twitchy highlighted people's reaction to the damning revelations about Biden and Harris, Thompson highlights how there are even more rifts in the Biden administration, including to do with the White House Chief of Staff:

Ricchetti’s disappointment about not being chief of staff

After Biden chose Klain as chief of staff, STEVE RICCHETTI, counselor to the president, confided to a friend: “I love Ron like a brother. But I think I’d have been the better choice.”

...

Panetta vs. Klain

The book captures Klain’s anger at the public and private critiques of Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan by LEON PANETTA, the former chief of staff to BILL CLINTON who also served as CIA director and defense secretary under BARACK OBAMA.

Panetta compared the exit to JOHN KENNEDY’s handling of the Bay of Pigs, and he told Whipple he wondered “whether people were telling the president what he wanted to hear.”

Klain shot back after being shown those comments. “Joe Biden didn’t pay a trillion dollars to these people to be trained to be the army. He wasn’t out there saying for years, as Leon was, that we had built a viable fighting force. Leon favored the war. Leon oversaw the training of the Afghan army,” he told Whipple. "He was CIA director and defense secretary when many of the Afghan troops were trained. If this was Biden’s Bay of Pigs, it was Leon’s army that lost the fight.”

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There's more on that disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, adding insult to injury in how the buck apparently doesn't stop with Biden:

Afghanistan blame game

Whipple wrote that Biden “felt let down by his briefers” when it came to Afghanistan. The book includes several on-the-record interviews with top officials pointing fingers at one another over the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

  • Secretary of State TONY BLINKEN said that the fundamental problem was that “the worst-case prediction for the failure of the Afghan government and the security forces, throughout the spring and into the early summer, was eighteen months–plus … Throughout this whole process there was an intelligence assessment that proved to be wrong: that the Afghan government and security forces would remain in place and hold on to the major cities well into the following year.”
  • When CIA Director BILL BURNS was asked if he thought the results stemmed from an intelligence failure, he told Whipple: “I don’t believe it was. I think we and the intelligence community did an honest, straightforward job of pointing out the frailties — of the Afghan political leadership, especially, but also the Afghan military and the increasing momentum of the Taliban.” All of this, Burns said, was communicated to Biden, Whipple wrote.
  • That prompted a senior White House aide to hit back. “Bill can point to things that said, ‘it’s possible that X will happen,’ right? In a twenty-page document, ‘it’s possible that X will happen’ in one line,” the senior aide told Whipple. “But the overwhelming weight of the material provided to the president was that the Taliban would take these rural areas quickly, and it would be a long time before they would launch an assault on major cities, let alone Kabul itself.”
  • And then MARK MILLEY, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the 18-month worst-case scenario wasn’t what he recalled. "The intelligence I saw predicted months,” he said. “So we leave the country in August — and in a reasonable, worst-case scenario it’s a Thanksgiving, Christmas, January time frame when things fall apart. I think the intelligence was very, very good. The one exception was that no one predicted 11 days."
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Going back to issues with the Bidens and Harris, let's not forget how far-reaching it goes. POLITICO had obtained another book earlier this year, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future," by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, which revealed similar tension and drama. According to that book, First Lady Jill Biden seemed not too thrilled with her husband picking Harris, questioning why "do we have to choose the one who attacked Joe?"


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