“The e-book is fiction,” Trump stated Wednesday within the Oval Workplace alongside the Emir of Kuwait.
Even because the President publicly fumes, he is privately on a mission to find out who did — and did not — discuss to Woodward, CNN has realized.
However no sooner had the seek for Woodward’s sources begun than yet one more devastating portrait of the President emerged, this time by way of a New York Instances op-ed written by an unnamed senior Trump administration official.
The official says “the basis of the issue is the President’s amorality” and paints a damning image of Trump’s “reckless choices,” “erratic habits” and his “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” management model.
The White Home didn’t instantly reply to a CNN request for touch upon the op-ed.
Earlier than it revealed, two officers who’ve spoken on to the President say he’s happy with the denials of chatting with Woodward supplied by chief of employees John Kelly and Protection Secretary James Mattis.
Trump himself highlighted the denials of Mattis and Kelly, saying that each males have been “insulted” by the feedback Woodward attributed to them.
“Gen. Mattis has come out very, very strongly…He was insulted by the remarks that have been attributed to him,” Trump stated. “John Kelly, similar factor. He was insulted by what they stated. He could not consider what they stated.”
In Trump’s eyes, what makes or breaks aides who’re reported to have made disparaging feedback about him is how strongly they push again on the accusations.
Not like Kelly and Mattis, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by no means denied calling Trump a “moron” and a former senior White Home official stated Trump “by no means forgave him for it.”
However he’s additionally paying attention to the silence from a number of different former administration officers.
“He desires to know who talked to Woodward,” one of many officers stated, talking on situation of anonymity amid the extremely tense ambiance within the West Wing within the wake of the e-book.
One supply near the White Home stated individuals contained in the administration are “pissed off as a result of they know it is true.”
Trump has talked brazenly with allies about his suspicion that former nationwide safety adviser H.R. McMaster cooperated, suggesting that McMaster probably turned over his notes to Woodward. The President has aired an analogous perception about Gary Cohn, the previous chief financial adviser.
Each males, in fact, play key roles within the e-book.
The President is directing the response technique personally, officers say, in session with high communications official Invoice Shine and different aides. At this level, it appears unlikely that anybody is straight away fired due to the e-book, one official says, as a result of that might “lend credence to a e-book he’s making an attempt to discredit.”
Extra broadly, the White Home’s rising technique to push again towards Woodward’s reporting appears to be going after these former officers suspected of sharing paperwork and tales, in response to a number of individuals accustomed to the sport plan.
“You do not discredit Bob Woodward. You discredit the motives of the individuals” who offered the knowledge, one particular person stated.
Evidently caught off guard by the extent of element within the e-book, White Home officers have been soliciting recommendation from allies on how to answer the e-book as lately as this weekend, an individual accustomed to these conversations stated.
Sanders additionally tried dismissing the e-book as a rehash of outdated — incorrect — tales.
“Definitely simply because they maintain getting informed does not make them extra true,” Sanders stated.
CNN’s Jim Acosta and Sarah Westwood contributed to this report.