Bob Woodward's bizarre phone call with Trump

President Donald Trump called journalist Bob Woodward on August 14, CNN has learned, apparently because the ...

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 6:28 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 6:28 PM

President Donald Trump called journalist Bob Woodward on August 14, CNN has learned, apparently because the President was alarmed by reports that Woodward is publishing a new book about him.

Woodward recorded the call with Trump's permission and CNN obtained a full transcript of the conversation. The Washington Post first reported on the 11-minute call.

Trump has been complimentary of Woodward in the past, and initially his manner was friendly. Woodward explained that he's disappointed Trump didn't sit down for an interview for the book and said he put in several requests.

At first, Trump said he didn't know anything about it.

"It's really too bad, because nobody told me about it," Trump said. "You know I'm very open to you. I think you've always been fair."

Woodward then told the President he requested an interview through about six people, including aides and Republican senators. "I'm sorry we missed the opportunity to talk for the book," Woodward said, later adding, "I maximized my effort."

"They don't tell me," Trump replied, indicating no one relayed the request.

But within a few minutes, Trump changed his story. An extraordinary exchange followed as Trump asked Woodward to name the people he contacted.

"I talked to Kellyanne (Conway) about it two-and-a-half months ago," Woodward responded, saying he discussed the book with the White House counselor over lunch.

Woodward also said he put in a request through White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah, but never heard back.

"Well, a lot of them are afraid to come and talk -- or, you know, they are busy. I'm busy," Trump answered.

After several more minutes, including a long tangent from the President taking credit for the strong economy, Trump asked, "Who were the senators?"

"Sen. (Lindsey) Graham said he had talked to you about talking to me," Woodward replied, then asked, "Now, is that not true?"

In an about-face, Trump then made a critical admission: "Senator Graham actually mentioned it quickly in one meeting," he said. "That is true. That is true."

Woodward explained his method of reporting to Trump, including meeting with White House sources and getting documentation. Then, he told the President directly that the book is "a tough look at the world and your administration and you."

Trump began to bristle but tried to joke. "Well, I assume that means it's going to be a negative book," he said. "But you know, I'm sort of 50% used to that."

As the conversation continued, Trump revealed Conway had walked into the Oval Office. He put her on the phone with Woodward.

"Why don't you speak to Kellyanne. Ask her. She never told me about it," Trump said.

Conway acknowledged, "I put in the request. But you know, they -- it was rejected. I can only take it so far."

It was a surreal moment, since Conway has direct access to the President.

"I presented it to the people here who make those decisions, but ..." Conway added.

"Who are the people?" Woodward interrupted.

Conway didn't answer. "Anyway, I'll give you back to the President."

Trump got back on the phone and complained that Woodward didn't contact him directly. "It would've been nice, Bob, if you called for me, in my office. I mean, I have a secretary. I have two, three secretaries."

Woodward repeated that he made multiple requests, as Trump's annoyance appeared to increase.

"We're going to have a very inaccurate book, and that's too bad," Trump said.

Woodward immediately responded, "No, it's going to be accurate, I promise."

"Yeah, OK," Trump replied. "Well, accurate is that nobody's ever done a better job than I'm doing as President. That I can tell you. So that's -- And that's the way a lot of people feel that know what's going on, and you'll see that over the years. But a lot of people feel that, Bob."

"I believe in our country," Woodward said. "And because you're our President, I wish you good luck."

"OK," Trump concluded. "Thank you very much, Bob. I appreciate it. Bye."

Woodward's book relies on hundreds of hours of taped confidential background interviews and dozens of sources in Trump's inner circle, as well as documents, files, diaries and memos, including a note handwritten by Trump himself.

Woodward's reporting brings a credibility that distinguishes this book from previous efforts on Trump. The author and Washington Post journalist has won two Pulitzer Prizes, including one for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

"Fear: Trump in the White House" is set for release September 11.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 54°
Columbus
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 53°
Oxford
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 52°
Starkville
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 50°
High pressure brings sunny skies and dry conditions for Sunday with highs in the mid 70s. Rain chances build in during the week.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather