Sep 11, 2018

Scoop: Gary Cohn takes on Bob Woodward

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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Concern over coronavirus spread: Italy, South Korea and Iran report more cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran jumped on Sunday as infections in mainland China continued to grow, the latest figures show.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures amid rising case numbers, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

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Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

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Joe Biden places second in Nevada caucuses, ahead of Pete Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden a Nevada Caucus watch party in Las Vegas on Saturday. Photo: Ronda Churchill/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden secured second place in the Nevada Democratic caucuses with former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg third, according to NBC News projections Sunday.

Why it matters: It's a boost for Biden, who's widely tipped to be endorsed by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday, ahead of this week's South Carolina primary.

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