Tags: bob woodward | carl bernstein | donald trump | russia

Woodward, Bernstein: More Information Needed on Trump

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017 03:55 PM

Legendary journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein Tuesday agreed that more information is needed concerning President-elect Donald Trump's relationships with Russia.

However, they did not see eye-to-eye on whether it was proper for the nation's intelligence chiefs to report details from an unsubstantiated document purporting to reveal salacious details about him and his dealings with Russia.

"I think the intelligence community has come up with a good assessment and has good intelligence, and as Trump has said, Russia is behind the hacking," Woodward told CNN's "New Day" program, noting that both he and Bernstein agree that the main issue is about what Trump will do as president.

"If we were to list the questions on a whiteboard or in any form we would be on the show all morning, there are so many things that need to be answered," Woodward continued. "My approach, and I know Carl's approach from the work we did 45 years ago, that you have to look at what are the facts, who are the witnesses, what is the quality of the evidence, and we need in a very aggressive but fair way to explain what he's going to be doing as president, and it's going to be a hell of a story."

Trump's poll numbers are low as he heads toward Inauguration Day, and on Tuesday he attacked the pollsters involved, claiming they were the ones who did the polls heading into the election, and they were also wrong.

"There are much more important things going on than the poll numbers," Bernstein said. "We have a president-elect of the United States who raised all kinds of questions with the intelligence community and people in Congress and with the black community."

But meanwhile, Woodward said a two-page dossier outlining the controversial longer opposition report should not have been included in his briefing with intelligence chiefs earlier this month.

"The meeting that the intelligence chiefs had with Trump was to go over their very good assessment of Russian hacking, and then they added, as CNN first reported in a terrific story because this is news, this two-page summary of this dossier that is full of all of these unconfirmed allegations," Woodward said.

Trump praised Woodward this week after the journalist said he doubted the unverified document, but the president-elect has roundly slammed CNN's reporting about the issue, calling it "fake news" and shutting down correspondent Jim Acosta's questions during a press conference last week.

Woodward, though, on Tuesday called CNN's reporting "exactly right."

"It did not go into the unsubstantiated detail, but it said that the intelligence chiefs presented this to Trump, and that clearly is news," Woodward said. "I thought it was done in a very restrained, accurate way, and the CNN story said, 'look, we can't substantiate any of this so we are not going to publish the details from it, and somebody else published the detail and it's out there and people are going to be looking at it.'"

However, before Trump was elected, many of the nation's former intelligence chiefs opposed him and called him an "unwitting agent of the Russian Federation," Woodward said.

"And then all of a sudden this two-page summary is presented to him, and he says, 'wait a minute, is this fair,' and in my view it was not fair.'"

Doubts about Trump and Russia, though, come from his own lack of transparency over his business dealings, Bernstein countered.

"What did Donald Trump own in greater Russia, and not just Russia, but greater Russia, the old USSR, and what does he own and who does he own it with, and how much does he owe to people in that part of the world?" Bernstein asked. "We know almost nothing about his underlying finances despite that dog and pony show he did the other day with all those envelopes and his lawyer that we are not allowed to look for . . . this is a big story, and we need to know what does he own and how much does he own and what is it."

Bernstein did not agree with Woodward that an apology was due, though, as the intelligence chiefs thought the information should be brought to the attention of both Trump and President Barack Obama.

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Legendary journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein Tuesday agreed that more information is needed concerning President-elect Donald Trump's relationships with Russia.
bob woodward, carl bernstein, donald trump, russia
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2017-55-17
Tuesday, 17 Jan 2017 03:55 PM
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