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: 320107

Reported Deaths: 7378
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22291269
Hinds20741421
Harrison18444317
Rankin13917282
Jackson13731249
Madison10270224
Lee10060176
Jones8473167
Forrest7834153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636088
Lafayette6314121
Washington5426137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4161136
Union415877
Neshoba4064180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387087
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3372111
Alcorn327473
Scott320374
Yazoo314371
Adams308386
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298984
Simpson298589
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272274
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248963
Tishomingo232268
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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