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Bob Woodward tells Trevor Noah why covering this president is different: "It's a war on truth"

Bob Woodward, Trevor Noah
Screenshot: The Daily Show

Fear author and the guy Washington insiders fear is talking to their friends Bob Woodward sat for an interview with Trevor Noah on Thursday’s Daily Show. Noting that, as evidenced by the reaction of patrons of a D.C. restaurant where the two were dining, political types view him as “the guy that can end our careers,” Noah asked his guest why there’s a a subtly different tone to the venerable journalist’s writing on Donald Trump. (As compared to the other eight presidents he’s written about in his 47 years on the job.) Unlike in the past, where Woodward has let the interviews with powerful insiders do much of the judging, Noah pointed out that Fear has a more condemning tone concerning the current president.


“It’s because of the evidence,” stated Woodward, who then went on to outline some more of the truly unsettling stories he got from people deep within the Trump White House. People, Woodward claimed, whose mindset at this point can best be described as, “The more they know, the closer they are to Trump, the closer they are to the verge of having a cardiac arrest.” Illustrating that hyperventilation-inducing point, Woodward restated his story about how former economic adviser Gary Cohen told the reporter that he straight-up stole a document off of Trump’s desk so that Donald wouldn’t destroy an agreement with South Korea—one that contains within it our capability to detect any pesky North Korean nuclear launches. Doubling down on that little panic button of a thought, Woodward also told Noah about how Trump’s campaign against NATO has to be constantly curbed by people like the Secretary of Defense explaining to Trump that NATO is how we prevent World War III. “It’s inconceivable,” explained Woodward.

And yet here we are, something Noah addressed by asking why the people around Trump keep covering for him, comparing it to knowing “the emperor has no clothes and they tell us that he’s wearing Versace.” “It’s about survival,” opined Woodward, noting that many of the “Republican enablers” he speaks to privately say, “My head hurts so hard.” “Tough,” said Woodward, perhaps channeling the mounting frustration of viewers at home. As to whether Trump’s approaching legal shitstorm in the wake of, well, everyone in his inner circle testifying against him, going to jail, quitting, being fired, or keeping potentially dangerous information out of his reach like matches from a toddler will face a Richard Nixon-like downfall any time soon, Nixon nemesis Woodward said, “It depends on the evidence.” He claimed that “the saddest moment of American journalism of the last decade is that we did not get his tax returns,” explaining that, during Trump’s real estate career, it was a widely adopted practice to “structure he deal so he couldn’t get his hands on the cash flow.” “They called it ‘the Donald risk,’” explained Woodward, which sounds like the title of another Trump book, should the country survive long enough for him to write it.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.