Donald Trump insisted Friday that investigative journalist Bob Woodward’s recordings of his multiple interviews with the former president, featured in Woodward’s upcoming audiobook, “belong” to Trump.
“We’ve already hired the lawyers to sue him,” Trump told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade Friday on his radio program. “Bob Woodward’s a very sleazy guy,” he added of the famed Watergate journalist.
Woodward’s audiobook, “The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Trump” is scheduled for release on Tuesday. It includes more than eight hours of the journalist’s 20 interviews with Trump over the years, interspersed with commentary from Woodward.
Trump appeared to concede that Woodward was the one who set up the tapes and recorded the interviews, but insisted the rights to use the tapes belong to him.
“In many ways, I like the tapes, I insist on tapes, but I also say the tapes belong to me,” Trump told Kilmeade. “So that means Woodward has to get whatever deal he made, you know, we’ll probably end up in litigation over it. Because we gave tapes for the written word, not tapes to sell, and that’s always made clear,” he said.
Trump insisted he told Woodward “these tapes are for the written word, these tapes are for your [previous] book, these are not to be sold, these are tapes for your book, to help you. I like that because it’s more accurate,” he added.
“So now he’s making an audiobook out of it, so we’ll sue him,” Trump said.
Woodward could not immediately be reached for comment.
Some revelations from Woodward’s book have already been recounted in media outlets that obtained advance copies.
In one of the interviews in 2019, Trump admitted that letters from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that were seized in August from his Mar-a-Lago compound were “so top secret,” The Washington Post reported. Yet he nevertheless showed them off to Woodward. “Don’t say I gave them to you, OK?” Trump can be heard saying on tape.
In another audio recording from a 2020 interview with Woodward, Trump said he preferred “tougher and meaner” world leaders.
“I like Putin,” Trump told Woodward, CNN reported after obtaining an advance copy of the audiobook.
“Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing, all right? Especially because they have 1,332 nuclear fucking warheads,” he told the journalist.