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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

The separate and unequal paths in business

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When a bank turned down George Johnson for a business loan, he got creative. He returned and told the bank he needed $250 to take his wife on a vacation — and was approved. Then he invested the cash in his business, which became the first Black enterprise to trade on the American Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: The highways to success in the U.S. market economy — in entrepreneurship, corporate leadership and wealth creation — are often punctuated with roadblocks and winding detours for people of color.

GOP state legislatures move to assert control over election systems

Contractors in Phoenix in May 2021 recounting ballots as part of a 2020 general election audit requested by the Arizona State Senate. Photo: Courtney Pedroza for the Washington Post

Republican-held state legislatures have passed bills that give lawmakers more power over the vote by stripping secretaries of state of their power, asserting control over election boards and creating easier methods to overturn election results, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The bills, triggered by baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, threaten to politicize traditionally non-partisan election functions by giving Republicans more control over election systems.

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