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Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

  • "Milley said that Trump's provocations and willingness to launch military strikes, however, could lead to war. In 'Peril,' Milley is quoted saying of Trump, 'I continually reminded him, depending on where and what you strike, you could find yourself in a war.' ... It was a dangerous national security crisis."

Our thought bubble: One thing is certain — Trump didn’t learn about the contents of "Peril" by reading the book.

  • Trump doesn’t read books. He either saw the authors talking about it on TV — the most common source of his book rage — or he was told about it by somebody trying to whip him up.

The bottom line: Trump has plenty of folks in his orbit who have been trying for years (without success) to persuade him to stop doing interviews with traditional media.

  • To their immense frustration, Trump can’t quit the mainstream media. While he denied Woodward an interview, Trump sat this year for extensive interviews with reporters from outlets he regularly derides as "fake news" — then bashes the books when they come out.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy declines interview with Jan. 6 select committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday he will not participate with the Jan. 6 select committee's request to interview him about his communications with former President Trump.

Driving the news: McCarthy, the highest-ranking elected official the panel has asked for information, said that he had nothing to add and criticized the panel's "abuse of power."

Trump calls GOP politicians who withhold booster status "gutless"

Former President Trump slammed politicians who refuse to reveal whether they have received their COVID vaccine booster shots, calling them "gutless" in an interview with One American News Network.

Driving the news: While Trump did not specifically name anyone, some GOP politicians, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have dodged questions about their booster status.

Jan 12, 2022 - World

Ahead of Iran deal decision, White House to "focus the fire on Trump"

Jen Psaki briefs the press as Jake Sullivan looks on. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

With the Iran nuclear talks reaching a critical moment, the White House plans to focus much of its public messaging in the coming weeks on attacking former President Donald Trump for leaving the 2015 deal, two sources briefed on the White House plans told me.

Why it matters: The Biden administration thinks it's now just a matter of weeks before the critical decision point: Either a deal will be reached and the U.S. will return to the nuclear deal or talks will break down and the administration will move to put more pressure on Iran, the sources said.