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Cohn stole docs off Trump’s desk like Woodward said, McMaster confirms

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gary cohn Donald Trump
Gary Cohn was President
Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser until April
2018.

Getty
Images/Pool


  • H.R. McMaster confirmed that Gary Cohn took documents off of
    President Donald Trump’s desk that would have pulled the US out
    of a major trade deal with South Korea.
  • The explosive story was a key detail in veteran journalist
    Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear:
    Trump in the White House
    .”
  • But McMaster argued that the move was not designed to hide
    the document from Trump.
  • The White House and Trump have pushed back on Woodward’s
    reporting.

H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump’s former national security
adviser, confirmed the most explosive allegation from Bob
Woodward’s
new book about President Donald Trump’s White
House.

According to
the Washington Examiner
, McMaster confirmed Gary Cohn,
Trump’s former top economic adviser, did in fact
steal documents off of the president’s desk
in an effort to
prevent Trump from pulling the US out of key trade deals.

Asked about the anecdote in Woodward’s book, “Fear:
Trump in the White House
“, that Cohn stole documents that
would have pulled the US out of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement
(KORUS), McMaster confirmed the report and argued it was the
right thing to do.

“I know about that incident and that was wholly appropriate for
Gary Cohn, who was a wonderful public servant and a great
colleague, to do,” he said at an event hosted by Perry World
House on Wednesday.

Pulling out of KORUS would have had significant economic
consequences and likely would have harmed the US-South Korea
relationship during a critical juncture in talks with North
Korea.

Cohn told colleagues at the time that the theft was necessary and
that Trump would forget about the idea,
according to the book
. Woodward also reported that Cohn
snatched a document that would have pulled the US out of the Noth
American Free Trade Agreement from the president’s desk, too.

McMaster did push back on the book’s assessment that the move was
designed to hide the document from Trump, instead saying the
removal was the product of the White House document process.

“It wasn’t to hide it from the president at all,” McMaster said,

according to the Examiner.
“I mean, the president knew what
this particular argument was. We had a process that was underway
that combined the Homeland Security Council, the National
Economic Council, and the National Security Council together to
assess really what our trade policies ought to be and our
objectives ought to be.”

The
White House has pushed back
against the book, calling it
“nothing more than fabricated stories.” Trump also disputed the
idea that Cohn stole documents from his desk.


Cohn released a statement
at the time of the book’s release
saying Woodward did “not accurately portray my experience at the
White House”. But in the statement and subsequent appearances,
Cohn did not directly dispute the document theft story.

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