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Bob Woodward: Trump Threat ‘Has Not Been Treated Seriously Enough’

He Says That Kelly, Mattis 'Not Telling the Truth' In Denying Quotes in Book

WASHINGTON — Bob Woodward, whose new book “Fear: Trump in the White House,” will be published on Tuesday, told NBC’s “Today” that the dangers that President Donald Trump poses to the intelligence world has “not been treated seriously enough.”

In his first live interview about the book, Woodward said that “some of the things Trump did and does jeopardize the real national security. This country does some things in the intelligence world which are so important to protect the country they are astonishing. They are secret. They are called special access programs, and he jeopardizes them.”

Woodward continued, “He jeopardizes things in the economy by doing things that experts — ‘99.9% of the people say don’t do tariffs. It doesn’t work. He’s got it in his head, and when people challenge him, he will say, ‘I have had those ideas for 30 years, you’re wrong.'”

Trump attacked the book again on Monday, writing in a tweet that it was a “joke.”

He wrote that it was “just another assault against me, in a barrage of assaults, using now disproven unnamed and anonymous sources. Many have already come forward to say the quotes by them, like the book, are fiction. Dems can’t stand losing. I’ll write the real book!”

White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis have issued denials about quotes attributed to them in the book. In the book, Kelly is quoted calling the president an “idiot” and calling the White House under Trump “crazytown.” Mattis is quoted calling Trump’s understanding “like a fifth or sixth grader.”

Woodward, however, said that they “are not telling the truth.”

He noted that Ben Bradlee, the legendary Washington Post editor and his old boss, used to say, “The truth emerges. Sometimes it takes time.”

“These are political statements to protect their jobs,” Woodward said. “Totally understand. [The book] is as carefully done as you can do” and is an “excavation of the reality of what is going on.”

Woodward said of the president, “There’s a war on truth by him. He says these are unnamed sources, but these are not unnamed incidents. [The book describes] specific people on specific dates.”

He said that he has “never seen instance where the president is so detached from the reality of what is going on.” He pointed to another instance described in the book, a meeting of the National Security Council in which Trump questions why the U.S. is funding military defenses in Europe. “Mattis says to him, ‘We’re doing this to prevent World War III,” Woodward said.

“The incidents are not anonymous,” he said. “It gives a date. It gives a time, who participated.”

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