Bob Woodward has 'had a lot of credibility problems'

Sep 05, 2018, 05:13
Bob Woodward has 'had a lot of credibility problems'

"He's had a lot of credibility problems", Trump said of the former Watergate reporter in an exclusive interview with the right-wing Daily Caller.

Donald Trump used to routinely refer to Jim Mattis, his defence secretary, by his nickname "Mad Dog" in honour of the warrior reputation the former Marine Corps general acquired during a long military career.

The picture revealed - of an administration having a "nervous breakdown of executive power" - is unflattering in the extreme.

It's also true, however, that the reporter has unrivalled access to the corridors of power, and the general Washington consensus is it's better to talk to him than not, since your colleagues - and enemies - are certainly giving him their side of the story.

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 book is out on Tuesday, but extracts were published by the Washington Post yesterday.

But it doesn't stop at the walls of the West Wing, which is why I want to focus on what Trump said about Sessions.

"That's false" and "it's just made up", he said, adding that "there was nobody taking anything from me".

Woodward describes these acts as "no less than an administrative coup d'etat".

One topic looming over the administration was Robert Mueller's investigation of the President's ties to Russian Federation, and the book reveals the debate between Trump and his lawyers over whether he should testify.

It didn't go well, as the president grew increasingly frustrated with the intensity of the questioning, at one point angrily calling the investigation "a goddamn hoax".

President Trump told Woodward in a phone call that he would have spoken to Woodward for the book, but he was not told about an interview request.

Dowd reportedly told the president: "Don't testify".

Trump called U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and said "Let's fucking kill him!" According to Woodward, John Dowd did a practice Mueller interview with Trump.

According to the book, Trump told Mattis that he wanted to have Assad assassinated after the Syrian president launched a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017.

Trump said that did not take place.

Trump also asked whether Woodward was a "Dem operative", and suggested that the timing of the book's release may have been politically motivated, with USA midterm elections only two months away.

"How many more deaths?" he asked.

By the end of the call, Trump had changed his tune: "So we're going to have a very inaccurate book, and that's too bad". As I stated back in May and still firmly stand behind: "I spend more time with the President than anyone else, and we have an incredibly candid and strong relationship".

Trump: So I have another bad book coming out.

Woodward's book is based on hundreds of hours of taped interviews and dozens of sources in Trump's inner circle, along with documents, memos and diaries, CNN said.

The book follows the January release of author Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury", which led to a rift between Trump and Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, who spoke with Wolff in terms that were highly critical of the president and his family.

According to the Post: "Under orders from the president, Porter drafted a notification letter withdrawing from Nafta". My copy of All the Presidents Men looks worn and exhausted, and I've watched the film more times than any person should care to admit. "You're past your prime".

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