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President Trump behind a phone featuring the Twitter app. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump, in an extraordinary public statement, pushed back against charges of mental instability and declared himself a genius. "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart," he wrote on Twitter.

Trump's mental fitness was called into question by Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury" and instantly exploded into a topic of global interest and debate.

Be smart: Trump felt he had to publicly reiterate that he is mentally stable enough to be president. He even reminded his followers of his career trajectory as a way to try to prove that point: "Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star ... to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!"

Why now: "Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence," he tweeted.

But, but, but: There has been a growing number of people questioning Trump mental stability in no uncertain terms.

  • In the new book "Fire and Fury," author Michael Wolff wrote that "100 percent of the people around" Trump, "senior advisers, family members, every single one of them, questions his intelligence and fitness for office."
  • At least 25 House Democrats backed a bill to remove Trump from office if he is deemed mentally unfit by a commission of physicians and psychiatrists.
  • A dozen lawmakers in both the House and Senate recently received a briefing about Trump's mental fitness. The psychiatrist "made it clear that she is not in a position to diagnose the President, or any public figure, from afar," CNN writes, but "She argues that signs the President has exhibited have risen to that level of danger."
  • CNN's Brian Stelter argued that if Trump were president of any other country, people would say he's not well: "I think we can apply a test to his 16 tweets today. The test would be if this were the leader of ... Germany or China or Brazil — what would we say? How would we cover these tweets?" he asked. "We would say these are the messages from a person who is not well, from a leader who is not fit for office."

Go deeper

Read: Former Vice President Walter Mondale's last message

Photo courtesy of Mondale.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale wrote a farewell letter to his staff, sent upon his death on Monday, thanking them for years working together.

Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!

Fritz

Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93

Walter Mondale, left, with former President Jimmy Carter in Jan. 2018 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Walter Mondale, who transformed the role of U.S. vice president while serving under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, died Monday at 93, according to a family spokesperson.

The big picture: President Biden, who was mentored by Mondale through the years, said in 2015 that the former vice president gave him a "roadmap" to successfully take on the job.

Scoop: U.S. ambassador refuses Kremlin push to leave Russia

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The United States ambassador to Russia is refusing to leave the country after the Kremlin "advised" him to return home following new Biden administration sanctions, two sources briefed on the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Sullivan, a respected diplomat who President Biden has, so far, retained from the Trump era, is at the center of one of the most important early tests of Biden's resolve.

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