Bob Woodward Tells Stephen Colbert 'We Need to Know What's Going On' in Trump White House

Scott Kowalchyk/CBS
Bob Woodward on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Sept. 10, 2018.

Journalist Bob Woodward sat down with Stephen Colbert on Monday's Late Show to discuss his new book about President Donald Trump's administration, Fear: Trump in the White House.   

Given the book's title, Colbert asked Woodward what fills him with fear. “Not knowing," the veteran journalist responded. "And that’s what we’ve got to do, we need to know what’s going on.”

"No one works in the White House who doesn’t bring things home," Woodward told Colbert. "On the third visit they say, ‘Maybe I’ve got something upstairs.’ Then they come down with three boxes."

Citing a section from the end of the book in which Trump's attorney John Dowd is performing a mock-trial with the president about the Mueller investigation, Woodward explained what the lawyer allegedly said in the situation. "You can’t testify, you are disabled. Imagine your lawyer telling you you’re disabled," said Woodward. "You can’t testify because you can’t tell the truth. You make things up."

When asked about whether sources might have motives, Woodward said, "What you do is you take information and you check with other people. This is a little beehive, the White House. Someone will say something and someone else will have a document...and you can put it together often with microscopic detail."

"They are worried about Trump doing things, so they steal papers off his desk...but Trump doesn't remember," Woodward said moments later. 

When asked if he would lie to protect the identity of a source, Woodward stated simply: "No."

Speaking on Trump, specifically, Woodward said, "In many of these cases, he's just wrong. He'll find a few people who will agree, but we better wake up to what's really going on and people need to examine it...this is not partisan."

“How do you feel when the president tweets about you?” Colbert asked.

“What is the contest in America other than the political contest? It’s a contest for the truth,” Woodward said. “I’m willing to put myself out here. I’ve done the work. This is the best reporting that you can do, or I can do.”

Earlier on Monday, Woodward appeared on NBC's Today where he said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly "are not telling the truth" when they deny making disparaging statements about Trump attributed to them in his book. Both Kelly and Mattis are quoted in the book as calling the president an "idiot" and has the understanding of a "fifth or sixth grader."

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