In the December 2019 Oval Office interview with-President Donald TrumpWashington Post journalist Bob Woodward questioned whether his rhetoric toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was intended to bring Kim to the negotiating table.
“No. No. It was designed for whatever reason, it was designed. Who knows? Instinct. Let’s talk instinctively, okay?” Trump said. “Because it’s really about the fact that you don’t know what’s going to happen. But it’s a very crude statement. The rudest.”
Trump then instructed his aides to show Woodward photographs of him with Kim at DMZ. “This is me and him. That’s the line, isn’t it? Then I walked through the line. Pretty cool. You know? Pretty cool. Right?” said the president.
Trump undertakes relationship with Kim – and admits he doesn’t have a broader strategy behind the threats he’s made about having a “much bigger” nuclear node – is part of a new audiobook Woodward is developing onion. Titled, “The Trump Tapes,” the book includes 20 interviews Woodward conducted with Trump between 2016 and 2020.
CNN obtained a copy of the audiobook ahead of its October 25 release, which includes more than eight hours of raw journalists’ interviews with Trump interspersed with Woodward commentary.
The interviews provide insights into the former president’s worldview and are the most extensive recordings of Trump talking about his presidency – including explanations. reason to meet KimHis relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and details of Trump view of the US nuclear arsenal. The audio clip also shows how Trump decided to share with Woodward letters Kim had written him – letters that helped spark DOJ investigates classified documents Trump went to Mar-a-Lago.
“And don’t say I gave them to you, okay?” Trump told Woodward.
Woodward said in the book’s introduction that he would release the recordings in part because “hearing Trump speak is an entirely different experience than reading the recordings or listening to brief interviews on television or the internet.” .”
He described Trump as “vulgar, vulgar, divisive and deceptive. His language is often retaliatory in nature.”
“However, you will also hear him engaging and entertaining, laughing, including the host. He’s trying to get me, to sell his presidency to me. Full-time salesperson,” Woodward said. “I want to put as much of Trump’s voice, his own words, into the historical record and so that people can hear and judge and make their own judgments.”
Most interviews conducted for Woodward’s second Trump book, “Rage,” revealed that Trump told Woodward on February 7, 2020, that Covid-19 was “deadly stuff” but still brought it down publicly.
While the blockbuster revelations have been published in Woodward’s book, the audiotapes of the interviews are a stark reminder of how Trump acts as president and provide a A candid look at Trump’s thoughts and motivations as he prepares for another potential run for the White House in 2024.
In interviews, Trump shares his views on powerful people he admires – including Kim, Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – and expressed an overarching belief that he was the smartest person in the room.
In an interview in June 2020, then nationwide protests against George FloydWoodward asked Trump if he would help write his speech in which Trump declared himself “the president of law and order.”
“I get, I get people. They come up with ideas. But the idea is mine, Bob. The ideas are mine,” Trump told Woodward in a June 2020 interview. “Want to know something? Everything is mine. You know, everything. Every part of it. ”
The 20 interviews featured in the audiobook begin in March 2016, when Woodward and his Washington Post colleague Robert Costa interviewed Trump while he was a presidential candidate. The rest of the interviews were conducted in 2019 and 2020.
In a December 2019 interview, Woodward questioned Trump about North Korea’s nuclear program, prompting the president to brag about America’s nuclear weapons capabilities while appearing to reveal a nuclear weapon system. new gas – and potentially highly secure – one of the more notable episodes from “Rage.”
Woodward said he was never able to establish what Trump was referring to, though he noted that Trump’s comment reaffirmed the “normal, dangerous way” the former president handled information confidential information.
“I’ve built a weapons system that nobody has had in this country before,” Trump told Woodward. “We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard of. We have things that Putin and Xi have never heard of before.”
Throughout the interviews, Trump touched on his relationship with Putin, blaming the FBI’s investigation into Russian election interference for spoiling the chances of improving ties between the two countries.
“I like Putin. Our relationship must be a very good one. I’ve been campaigning to get along with Russia, China and all the others,” Trump said in an interview in January 2020. “Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing, okay? Especially since they have 1,332 f***ing nuclear warheads.”
In a rare moment of self-reflection, Trump noted that he has a better relationship with leaders “the more tough and meek they are.”
“I get along very well with Erdogan, although you shouldn’t be because everyone says what a horrible guy is. But for me, you know, it’s going well,” Trump said in an interview in January 2020.
“It’s funny, the relationships that I have, the more difficult and gentle they are, the more I get along with them. You know?” he continued. “Explain that to me someday, okay. But maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Easy things are things that I might not like or not. doesn’t suit much.”
Woodward’s audiobook also includes never-before-heard-of interviews with then-Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien, his deputy Matthew Pottinger, as well as behind-the-scenes audio with his children. Trump’s son-in-law is Jared Kushner.
During a call with Woodward in February 2020, Trump gave Kushner the phone to arrange interviews with other Trump advisers.
“What I heard from the president is basically I’m working for you now, so I’ll get that schedule ready and I’ll make sure I give you a good list, ‘ said Kushner.
“I want you to know that I am under no illusions that you work for me. I know you work for Ivanka, right? ‘ Woodward joked.
Kushner laughed. “Okay, fine, you get it. You get it. That’s probably why you’re Bob Woodward. Right.”
Throughout the recordings, Trump’s lineup of advisers, allies and family – including Donald Trump Jr., Melania Trump, Senators Lindsey Graham, Hope Hicks and others – can be heard. seen in the background. The audio provides a glimpse into Trump’s inner circle, like an exchange from 2016 when Trump was asked if he expected government employees to sign non-disclosure agreements, and His son agreed.
“I won’t get next week’s paycheck until I sign one,” said Donald Trump Jr. joke.
In the epilogue to “The Trump Tapes,” Woodward stated that his own past assessments critical of Trump’s presidency didn’t go far enough. In “Rage,” Woodward writes, “Trump is the wrong man at work.”
Now, Woodward said, “Trump is an unparalleled danger. Records now show that Trump led – and continues to lead – an ambitious plot to overturn the 2020 election, which is in essence an attempt to destroy democracy.”