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Tag Archives: Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward Opposes CNN Lawsuit, Saying It Helps Trump

Legendary reporter Bob Woodward says CNN’s lawsuit to reinstate Jim Acosta’s press pass is a bad idea, suggesting it only helps Trump, according to remarks reported by NBC News media reporter Dylan Byers on his Twitter feed.

“This is a negative … Trump is sitting around saying, ‘This is great,’” Woodward said at the Global Financial Leadership Conference in Florida. The lawsuit amounts to taking Trump’s bait, Woodward said, and the “remedy” isn’t a lawsuit, but “more serious reporting about what he’s doing.”

I have to think Woodward is not just opposed to the lawsuit because it helps Trump, but that rather he is appalled by the kind of journalism Acosta does. He also noted: “In the news media there has been an emotional reaction to Trump … too many people for Trump or against Trump have become emotionally unhinged about this.”

To someone like Woodward, an old school reporter who methodically assembles scoops and important news stories and books, the pure angry editorializing of the press when it comes to Trump is an anathema. The press has discredited itself by abandoning not just objectivity – or at least, the attempt at objectivity – but to have efffectively throw itself in with the Resistance instead of trying to check their emotions and stick to the facts.

Bob Woodward Accuses Trump of Being Compassionate

Trump? Can it be?

According to the Washington Examiner, which obtained a copy of the upcoming Bob Woodward book, Fear: Trump in the White House:

President Trump’s reactions to the deaths of U.S. service members early in his presidency struck members of his staff, who noted the “how much time and emotional energy” he spent comforting the families, according to Bob Woodward’s new book . . .

The deaths of service members with small children hit him hard, the book said. “That had a big impact on him, and it’s seen throughout everything.”

Of course, Woodward doesn’t compliment the president without using the back of his hand to do it:

The book details one instance in which staffers watched Trump, armed with service records, attempt to comfort Gold Star family members over the phone.

“‘l’m looking at his picture — such a beautifuI boy,’ Trump said in one call to family members. ‘Where did he grow up? Where did he go to school? Why did he join the service?

“‘I’ve got the record here,’ Trump said. ‘There are reports here that say how much he was loved. He was a great leader.'”

The book goes on to note that others in the Oval Office had copies of the records. “None of what Trump cited was there,” the book says. “He was just making it up. He knew what the families wanted to hear.”

Trump Responds to Woodward Book by Suggesting Tougher Libel Laws

President Trump Wednesday said tougher libel laws are in order in the wake of a book by Bob Woodward that the White House says contains false statements attributed to administration officials.

Trump and his aides are pushing back on the book not by just questioning its accuracy but by noting what they say it leaves out – the successes of the administration.

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:

Woodward to Publish Book on Trump White House September 11

Bob Woodward will publish an book detailing the inner workings of the Trump White House.

According to the Washington Post:

In the worldwide capital of leaks and anonymous dishing that is Washington, secrets can be almost impossible to keep.

But somehow over the past 19 months, the fact that America’s most famous investigative journalist was quietly chipping away at a book that delves into the dysfunctions of President Trump’s White House remained largely unknown. On Monday night, that veil of secrecy will be lifted when Simon & Schuster plans to announce that it will publish “Fear: Trump in the White House” by Bob Woodward on Sept. 11, according to a copy of the release obtained by The Washington Post.

In the book, Woodward’s 19th, the 75-year-old journalist and author “reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies,” the publisher’s release states.

The expected tenor of the book is underscored by its unsettling cover, an extreme close-up of a squinty-eyed Trump depicted through a gauzy red filter.

Unlike Michael Wolff, who wrote an insder book that came out in January, Woodward is a credible reporter and not at all a raging liberal. In fact, I suspect he is a Republican. But he’s still a creature of Washington.

Politico: Grand Bargain All But Impossible

President Obama almost certainly missed his chance to strike a “grand bargain” with Republicans on the deficit, particularly after having taken taxes out of the mix by raising them by $600 billion unilaterally at the beginning of the year, according to Politico.

Republicans, according to the piece, are serious when they say they are finished hiking taxes. And that puts Obama, despite his sudden charm explosion, in a serious bind.

From the article:

Obama would have to persuade Republicans to vote for a tax increase for the second time in less than one year. Can you imagine Boehner and his troops heading into the 2014 midterm elections dominated by conservative activists having to explain, not one, but two increases?

They ate $600 billion in defense cuts that a majority of Republicans wish they could undo rather than discuss even a tiny tax increase. Hard to see them budging now . . .

“Nobody is even talking about a grand bargain,” one of the Senate’s most influential Democratic leadership aides told us. “It is not even on our radar right now.” An adviser to Speaker John Boehner told us that window was slammed shut by Obama’s hardball tactics since the tax hike. “He missed the chance.”

I think the analysis is correct. Republicans who raise taxes again will be welcoming primary challenges all over the nation. And the White House has already socked them with two hits – tax increases and defense cuts. Obama will learn that you can hit someone over the head and apologize only so many times.

This is why Gene Sperling was busy screaming at Bob Woodward. Because he knows Woodward’s contention – that Obama moved the goalposts by trying include tax increases as a substitute for the sequester, which is all about spending cuts – does bodily damage to the president’s effort to extract more revenues from Republicans.

Sperling was likely engaged in a typical White House tactic – bully reporters to erase reporting that isn’t helpful to Obama. But as Politico notes, Republicans already get it.

Woodward: I Didn’t Feel Threatened

Well, now you tell us.

Unfortunately, Woodward’s screwup allows the White House to try to say, “Move along, nothing to see here.”

But I do think there’s been enough information put out over the last 36 hours so that public is much better aware of how the White House attacks Freedom of the Press by bullying and intimidating journalists trying to do their jobs.

Another Victim of White House Abuse Pops Up

Veteran reporter Ron Fournier, the former Associated Press chief White House reporter who now is editorial director for National Journal, shares his own experience with White House bullying, which was occurring apparently even as the whole Bob Woodward episode was going down.

From his story this morning:

I tweeted: “Obama White House: Woodward is ‘willfully wrong.’ Huh-what did Nixon White House have to say about Woodward?”

. . . The (senior White House) official angered by my Woodward tweet sent me an indignant e-mail. “What’s next, a Nazi analogy?” the official wrote, chastising me for spreading “bull**** like that” I was not offended by the note, mild in comparison to past exchanges with this official. But it was the last straw in a relationship that had deteriorated.

As editor-in-chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from this White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat. “You will regret staking out that claim,” The Washington Post reporter was told.

Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified. I wrote Saturday night, asking the official to stop e-mailing me. The official wrote, challenging Woodward and my tweet. “Get off your high horse and assess the facts, Ron,” the official wrote.

I wrote back:

“I asked you to stop e-mailing me. All future e-mails from you will be on the record — publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you. My cell-phone number is … . If you should decide you have anything constructive to share, you can try to reach me by phone. All of our conversations will also be on the record, publishable at my discretion and directly attributed to you.”

I haven’t heard back from the official.

Fournier is no wimp and he values his sources. He is, in short, one of a handful of reporters in town I really respect. It must have taken heavy torrents of verbal sewage for him to put an end to the relationship.

It occurs to me. What kinds of people are these exactly? They show up for work every day at the most prestigious address in the world and spend a certain portion of their time acting in the most vile manner imaginable.

And they’re running the country. You can’t tell me they isolate this type of behavior and attitude to their phone calls to reporters.

And the president of the United States has no objection. This is our leadership.

Woodward is Probably Wrong

Bob Woodward appears to either be mistaken or to have exaggerated when he claimed that a senior White House official – who turns out to have been White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling – threatened him in response to Woodward’s statements about the White House handling of the sequester. With the release of… Continue Reading

Report: Gene Sperling Threatened Woodward

Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith is reporting that a “source familiar with the exchange” said National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling is the senior White House official who berated Bob Woodward for half an hour and then threatened him in an email over his reporting on the sequester. Sperling is a veteran Democratic official who held the… Continue Reading

Woodward: The White House Threatened Me

Legendary Washington reporter Bob Woodward said  a “very senior person” in the White House threatened that he would “regret” reporting that has been critical of White House handling of the sequester. Normally this doesn’t surprise me, it’s how the White House operates, bullying reporters who write things it doesn’t like. Frankly, it’s Nixonian. This is… Continue Reading

Bob Woodward: Obama “Mistaken” on Sequester

Reporter Bob Woodward says President Obama is “mistaken” on the sequester, saying the president misspoke when he said it was Congress’s idea and not his. Woodward reported in his recent book, “The Price of Politics,” that in fact it was the White House that conjured up the proposal. Speaking to Politico, Woodward charitably offered that… Continue Reading