As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Woodward’s Trump Book Seems to Contain Nothing Too Damaging for the President

Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, Fear: Trump in the White House, seems to contain a lot of substantive information about decisionmaking and other activities in the White House but nothing utterly surprising on the downside for President Trump.

The Washington Post – surprise, surprise – obtained a copy of the book, which is to be released September 11, and ran an article that must, given it’s the Post, include a lot of the most damaging details. What it amounts to is mostly the usual reports of conniving staffers, disorganization, and Trump seeming disengaged at best and not so bright at worst. It’s all stuff we’ve heard before.

Here’s the portion of the article dealing with the decision on whether Trump should testify before Mueller:

John Dowd was convinced that President Trump would commit perjury if he talked to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. So, on Jan. 27, the president’s then-personal attorney staged a practice session to try to make his point.

In the White House residence, Dowd peppered Trump with questions about the Russia investigation, provoking stumbles, contradictions and lies until the president eventually lost his cool.

“This thing’s a goddamn hoax,” Trump erupted at the start of a 30-minute rant that finished with him saying, “I don’t really want to testify.”

On March 5, Dowd and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow met in Mueller’s office with the special counsel and his deputy, James Quarles, where Dowd and Sekulow reenacted Trump’s January practice session.

Woodward’s book recounts the debate between Trump and his lawyers, including John Dowd, regarding whether the president will sit for an interview with special counsel Robert. S. Mueller III. (Richard Drew/AP)
Dowd then explained to Mueller and Quarles why he was trying to keep the president from testifying: “I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot. And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a goddamn dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?’ ”

“John, I understand,” Mueller replied, according to Woodward.

Later that month, Dowd told Trump: “Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit.”

But Trump, concerned about the optics of a president refusing to testify and convinced that he could handle Mueller’s questions, had by then decided otherwise.

“I’ll be a real good witness,” Trump told Dowd, according to Woodward.

“You are not a good witness,” Dowd replied. “Mr. President, I’m afraid I just can’t help you.”

The next morning, Dowd resigned.

One other interesting little nugget. National Economic Council Advisor Gary Cohn was prone to stealing documents off Trump’s desk that he didn’t want the president to sign.

Here is some audio of a phone call between Trump and Woodward in which the two discuss the book.

Trump Tuesday tweeted out the following reactions:

8 Responses to Woodward’s Trump Book Seems to Contain Nothing Too Damaging for the President

  1. And every key person on Trump’s staff who was “quoted” in the book saying bad things about Trump has now come out and said, “I never said that.” So Woodward is up to his usual tricks.

    Remember when Woodward wrote that he interviewed Bill Casey on his death bed about the diversion of profits from the Iran contra caper? He said Casey admitted he knew all about it. But here’s the problem: “That is untrue, it’s a lie,” Sophia Casey (Casey’s widow) said in a telephone interview. “He never got in to see my husband . . . . This whole thing is a fabrication.”

    And, “Sophia Casey said that when Woodward, the Washington Post’s assistant managing editor for investigations, attempted to visit her husband in the hospital, guards stopped him before he could enter Casey’s room. She also said that Casey was unable to speak during his hospitalization because the right side of his neck and his tongue were partially paralyzed. “My husband could not converse,” she said.”

    I’ve learned to not believe ANYTHING Woodward writes about. His “anonymous sources” don’t exist.

  2. This is no problem for Trump. Period.
    This book will change noone’s mind about anything.
    It will make the author some $$, and provide the pundit class something to talk about for a few days…

  3. Lindsay Graham was quoted last evening on Fox. Allow me to paraphrase. What will damage Trump is if he fails to keep the promises he made to voters. Nothing in this book is going to damage Trump.

    I’ll buy that.