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Bob Woodward shared an April clip with late-night show host Stephen Colbert Monday where President Trump spoke of the dangers of the coronavirus, noting he "bailed out" of a White House room after someone sneezed.

Why it matters: Trump's comments to the veteran journalist regarding the coronavirus pandemic deeply contrast with what he has said publicly. The president argued for weeks that the virus would "disappear" and slow-walked economic lockdowns.

  • Trump has tweeted that Woodward withheld recordings of Trump saying his strategy was to intentionally downplay the threat of the coronavirus in February and March because "he knew they were good and proper answers."

Of note: Woodward told Colbert Trump's response makes him wonder if the president would bail on a rally if someone in the front sneezed.

  • Trump has said he's not worried about catching the virus at rally because he is "on stage and it's very far away ... and so I'm not at all concerned," per The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

What Trump told Woodward: "Bob, it's so easily transmissible, you wouldn't believe it ... I mean you could, you could be in the room ... I was in the White House a couple of days ago, meeting with 10 people in the Oval Office and a guy sneezed — innocently. Not a horrible ... you know, just a sneeze. The entire room bailed out, OK? Including me, by the way."

The other side: Trump told Fox News in an interview broadcast last Wednesday that he downplayed the virus' threat because he wanted to "show a calmness."

  • The president also accused Woodward of doing "hit jobs with everybody" on his books. Addressing Woodward's book, "Rage," about his presidency, Trump said: "I don't know if the book is good or bad — I have no idea. [I] probably, almost definitely, won't read it because I don't have time to read it."

Go deeper: Bob Woodward says it wasn't Trump's idea to restrict travel from China

Go deeper

Trump’s playbook for planting suspicion

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's effort to paint Joe Biden as corrupt — debunked by fact-checkers — fits a pattern of Trump's attacks on enemies: Raise deeply serious questions, regardless of what the facts say; hammer on those questions; never, ever seek finality.

Why it matters: Trump tries to plant seeds of suspicion and doubt, even if he doesn't actually prove a case. He incubates the attacks in perpetuity, rather than seeking an actual resolution. But in Biden's case, they've backfired in a way Trump couldn't have imagined.

17 mins ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspend the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

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