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Gary Cohn, Bob Woodward, and Donald Trump. Photos via Getty Images: Saul Loeb/AFP; William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire; Alex Edelman

Gary Cohn, former White House economic adviser to President Trump, is taking on Bob Woodward's "Fear" with a statement calling it inaccurate — but is declining to say what specifically Woodward has gotten wrong.

What he's saying: "This book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House," Cohn told Axios in a statement. "I am proud of my service in the Trump Administration, and I continue to support the President and his economic agenda."

  • Cohn, the former second in command at Goldman Sachs, makes frequent appearances in Woodward's inside account of the Trump White House, which was officially published Tuesday after a week of leaks and hype.

Between the lines: Cohn cited no specific objections to Woodward's extensive reporting of his private views that Trump needed to be saved from his most dangerous impulses. We're told the book is based on hundreds of hours of interviews, most of which were taped with the consent of the source.

  • The book has caused heartburn in the White House, with Trump trashing it repeatedly on Twitter. 
  • Trump has privately been angry at both Gary Cohn's and Rob Porter's starring roles in the book, which both Trump and White House officials view as evidence that they were major sources for the author.
  • Woodward's book opens with a dramatic scene in which Cohn sneaks into the Oval Office and removes from the president's desk a one-page draft letter addressed to the South Korean president, terminating the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
  • "I stole it off his desk," Woodward quotes Cohn as later telling an associate. "I wouldn't let him see it. He's never going to see that document. Got to protect the country."

The bottom line: The vast majority of the scenes involving Cohn reflect reporting that Axios has done over the course of the Trump presidency.

Woodward statement to Axios: “I continue to stand by my reporting.”

Go deeper: Bob Woodward responds to Trump on anonymous sources

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Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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