Woodward, in his first TV interview about his new book Fear, discussed some of the unsettling things he learned from his interviews with 100 or so people about President Trump's White House. "It's sad and pathetic that a gutless, anonymous source receives so much attention from the media".
Sanders denied the White House is conducting its own investigation to uncover the source behind the article. John McCain was buried, Brett Kavanaugh faced Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill, and bombshell excerpts of Bob Woodward's book on the White House were released.
However bad you fear the situation might be inside the Trump White House, the reality is even worse, says Bob Woodward, half of the duo behind the Watergate tapes, and the author of Fear: Trump in the White House, out Tuesday. Woodward notes a September 2017 incident, for instance, in which Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn withdrew papers from the president's desk which would keep him from withdrawing from KORUS, a key trade agreement with South Korea.
Asked whether the administration is attempting to ferret out the culprit, Sanders said the staff is "focused on things that actually matter".
"I think it was less about that part of it and whether or not somebody who is actively trying to undermine the executive branch of the government and a dually elected president of the United States", Sanders responded.
"A number of people came out and said that Woodward never reached out to corroborate statements attributed to them, which seems incredibly reckless for a book to make such outrageous claims, to not even take the time to get a 10-dollar fact checker to call around and verify some of these quotes happened", Sanders said.
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Asked later whether the White House would list all the things in Woodward's book that are wrong, Sanders said such an exercise "would be a complete and utter waste of our time, so no".
"People talk about the loyalists leaving", the person close to Trump said.
Throughout the interview, after accusing Trump of waging a "war on the truth", Woodward brought up anecdote after anecdote (all of them second-hand from anonymous sources) to paint a picture of an out-of-touch, almost insane commander-in-chief who is "detached from reality".
And when one reporter asked how Trump could expect to win a credibility battle against Woodward - the Washington Post reporter who helped uncover the Watergate scandal and take down then-President Nixon - Sanders had a response ready. "I'll write the real book!" Woodward said, adding that the comments by the administration officials "are political statements to protect their jobs".
The 75-year-old Woodward said that at a National Security Council meeting a year into Trump's presidency, when he was complaining about the cost of posting thousands of USA troops in foreign countries, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis had to explain the rationale to him. Many have already come forward to say the quotes by them, like the book, are fiction.