In an attempt to discredit Bob Woodward’s new book, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he “read another phony thing in the book about a trade deal that certain people didn’t want me to look at.” But CNN has obtained a copy of the book, and here is the letter.
The document is reproduced in Woodward’s book and is an example of how top White House aides would steal and hide documents from Trump that they believed to be a danger to national security. In this case, former White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn swiped the draft letter off the Oval Office desk to prevent Trump from signing it, terminating a critical trade agreement with South Korea.
Woodward reports Cohn was “appalled” that Trump might sign the letter.
“I stole it off his desk,” Cohn told an associate. “I wouldn’t let him see it. He’s never going to see that document. Got to protect the country.”
The document, from September 2017, would have informed the South Korean government that the United States “wishes to terminate” the free trade agreement between the two countries that has been in place for six years. Woodward reports that White House aides feared that if Trump sent the letter, it could jeopardize a top-secret US program that can detect North Korean missile launches within seven seconds.