Gary Cohn took papers from Trump's desk to protect Nafta, South Korea trade deal, Woodward book says
Former top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn took papers off President Donald Trumpâs desk to protect trade deals and national security, according to a new book by veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.
Cohn, according to excerpts of the book published by the Post and by CNN, saw a draft of a letter that would have withdrawn the U.S. from a trade agreement with South Korea. The presidentâs aides feared the fallout could jeopardize a top-secret national-security program: the ability to detect a North Korean missile launch within just seven seconds. Woodward reports Cohn was âappalledâ that Trump might sign the letter. âI stole it off his desk,â Cohn told an associate.
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The book says Cohn made a similar move to prevent Trump from pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. âI can stop this,â Cohn told thenâ"staff secretary Rob Porter. âIâll just take the paper off his desk.â
The U.S. remains in both trade agreements, but is negotiating new terms for them.
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The Postâs article about the forthcoming book says Woodward sought an interview with Trump, to no avail. Trump then called Woodward in early August, after the manuscript was completed, to say he wanted to participate. In an audio recording of the conversation, Trump complains the book will be âbad.â
Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs GS, -0.05% president, ran the White House National Economic Council from January 2017 through March 2018.
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