Dumbfounded that Donald Trump beat his hand-picked successor, Hillary Clinton, as president, former President Barack Obama and a top aide began plotting to “destroy” the president-elect around Christmas, according to a new book on Democrat efforts to undermine President Trump.

What’s more, the goal was to not just damage the Trump presidency but set the Republican president up for impeachment, according to Ed Klein’s latest from Regnery Publishing, All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump. It goes on sale tomorrow.

In an exclusive excerpt provided to Secrets, Klein described a "Christmastime" dinner during which national security adviser Susan Rice pushed plans to “unmask, or disclose, the names of several Trump campaign associates who were mentioned or whose conversations were captured in intelligence intercepts of Russian officials.”

Klein, a former New York Times editor who has written several insider accounts critical of the Clintons and Obamas, said that Obama knew of Rice’s efforts to disclose the names in hopes they would leak to the media and spark an investigation.

“He knew Rice wanted to encourage leaks to the Washington Post and the New York Times accusing Trump and his campaign of colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the American presidential election,” Klein wrote.

“If Rice’s plot succeeded — that is, if it could be proved that Trump had colluded with Putin during the campaign or, later, if it could be proved that he had tried to prevent an investigation into such collusion — Trump would likely face charges of impeachment,” said the new Klein book.

But, he added, Obama didn’t know that his closest aide, Valerie Jarrett, was behind the plot.

Rice eventually had to testify to Congress about her actions, and denied leaking Trump campaign and associate names.

Klein does not reveal his source other than offering the source as Jarrett’s “friend.”

During the dinner, wrote Klein, first lady Michelle Obama raised concerns that the effort was clearly a political plot to “sandbag” Trump.

Rice, however, is quoted saying she was worried about national security and she referenced the leaks of Democratic National Committee emails, embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, by Russian sources. She wanted, said the book, to make sure that the alleged links to the Trump campaign and Russia became public before Trump came to office.

“She said she was afraid that once Trump got into the White House, the evidence of collusion would be covered up or destroyed,” wrote Klein.

At that point during the dinner, the former first lady, said the book, cautioned that the plot could “bite us in the ass.”

As her husband mulled Rice’s plea to unmask the names by lowering security clearances, Jarrett’s “friend” told Klein, “Most of the time he had to choose between the lesser of two evils. This was an example of such a dilemma. It was clearly unethical to use illegal leaks to sabotage Trump. But Barack could argue that it was his patriotic to duty to draw attention to the possibility that the Trump campaign had conspired with the Russians to influence the outcome of an American election.”

At point, his source said, “Valerie piped up. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘[FBI Director James] Comey thinks Susan’s on to something. He’s investigating whether the Trump campaign cooperated with the Russians. There must be something there.’”

Klein concluded, “Valerie has a sixth sense how to handle Barack and Michelle. She understood Michelle’s reservations and her desire to protect her husband, and she wanted to give Michelle a chance to vent. But Valerie left no doubt that she was in favor of Barack going along with Susan’s scheme.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com