Gary Cohn and Rob Porter push back on Woodward book

One of President Donald Trump's former senior aides and his former chief economic adviser have issued statem...

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 9:38 AM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 9:38 AM

One of President Donald Trump's former senior aides and his former chief economic adviser have issued statements claiming that Bob Woodward's bombshell new book, "Fear," is inaccurate and misleading, after the book featured their statements and descriptions of the President's actions in a negative light.

The White House applied "a lot of pressure" on former Trump chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and former White House staff secretary Rob Porter to issue statements supporting Trump, and made it known the President was upset, a source close to the White House told CNN.

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Donald Trump

Gary Cohn

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Rob Porter

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A separate source close to the White House said the White House is "pushing anyone who is remotely associated with the book to discredit the information."

Neither statement directly refutes specific details presented by Woodward, whose book hit shelves on Tuesday.

Cohn said in a statement to Axios on Tuesday that the "book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House."

"I am proud of my service in the Trump Administration, and I continue to support the President and his economic agenda," the statement continued.

A person familiar with Cohn's decision to release a statement said it was Cohn's decision alone, downplaying the notion of pressure from the White House.

CNN has learned Cohn did give the White House a heads up before he released the statement.

A spokesperson for Cohn declined comment and referred CNN to Cohn's statement to Axios.

According to "Fear," Cohn saw a draft letter he considered dangerous to national security on the Oval Office desk and removed it before the President could see it.

Porter also worked with Cohn and used the same tactic on multiple occasions, Woodward writes. In addition to literally stealing or hiding documents from Trump's desk, the two sought to stall and delay decisions or distract Trump from orders they thought would endanger national security.

According to the book, Porter said a third of his job as staff secretary "was trying to react to some of the really dangerous ideas that [Trump] had and try to give him reasons to believe that maybe they weren't such good ideas."

The book also describes Cohn's and Porter's involvement in the public relations cleanup following the President's explosive "both sides" remark on the violence last year at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Porter, who left his post earlier this year amid allegations of domestic abuse against his ex-wives, said in a statement to CNN that Woodward's book is "selective and often misleading." He also said Woodward ignores the successes of the President.

"As Staff Secretary, I was responsible for managing the flow of documents to and from the Oval Office and ensuring that anything the President was asked to sign had been properly vetted," the statement said. "The suggestion that materials were 'stolen' from the President's desk to prevent his signature misunderstands how the White House document review process works — and has worked for at least the last eight administrations."

He continued, "It was also my responsibility to help ensure that relevant viewpoints were considered, that pros and cons were evaluated, that policy proposals were thoroughly vetted, and that the President could make decisions based on full information. Fulfilling this responsibility does not make someone part of a 'resistance' or mean they are seeking to 'thwart' the President's agenda. Quite the opposite."

The President told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon that he thought the statements from Porter and Cohn were "excellent," adding that it "shows that the book was just a piece of fiction."

In a statement to Axios, Woodward said he stands by his reporting.

The statements from Porter and Cohn and Woodward's response were first reported by Axios.

Woodward's reporting comes with the credibility of a long and storied history that separates 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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