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Saturday November 17th, 2018 7:02PM

The Latest: Mattis denies critical Trump remarks in new book

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and a new book by journalist Bob Woodward (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is denying he uttered comments critical of President Donald Trump that are contained in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward.

Mattis said Tuesday in a statement: "The contemptuous words about the President attributed to me in Woodward's book were never uttered by me or in my presence."

The book recounts that Mattis told "close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — 'a fifth- or sixth-grader.'"

Mattis says in the statement: "While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility."

Mattis says the notion that he would "show contempt" for Trump or "tolerate disrespect" to the office of the President of the United States "is a product of someone's rich imagination."

___

4:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is calling journalist Bob Woodward's explosive new book "nasty stuff," denying certain scenes in the book occurred.

Trump spoke to the conservative Daily Caller Tuesday after details emerged about the book.

Trump calls it "another bad book" and says Woodward has "a lot of credibility problems.

The president also denies that senior aides took sensitive documents from his desk, saying, "there was nobody taking anything from me."

"Fear: Trump in the White House" says Trump's chief of staff privately called him an "idiot" and presidential aides plucked documents off Trump's desk and thought he was often unaware of foreign policy basics.

Trump says he "probably would have preferred to speak to (Woodward), but maybe not. I think it probably wouldn't have made a difference in the book."

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3:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump's former attorney in the Russia investigation says scenes and comments in journalist Bob Woodward's explosive new book on Trump did not occur.

Dowd resigned from Trump's legal team in January. The book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," says he did so following a mock-interview he conducted with Trump in anticipation of sitting down with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Dowd is quoted as telling the president, "Don't testify. It's either that or an orange jumpsuit."

In a statement issued Tuesday, Dowd says, "There was no so-called 'practice session' or 're-enactment' of a mock interview at the Special Counsel's office."

He adds: "Further, I did not refer to the President as a "liar" and did not say that he was likely to end up in an 'orange jump suit.'"

___

3:15 p.m.

White House chief of staff John Kelly is denying an account in journalist Bob Woodward's new book that he called Trump an "idiot."

Kelly says, "The idea I ever called the president an idiot is not true."

In a separate statement, the White House is dismissing the book as "nothing more than fabricated stories."

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says in a statement: "This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad."

She adds that President Donald Trump's accomplishments don't get enough coverage in the press, saying "Democrats and their allies in the media understand the president's policies are working and with success like this, no one can beat him in 2020 - not even close."

___

12:25 p.m.

An upcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward says President Donald Trump's chief of staff privately called him an "idiot" and presidential aides plucked sensitive documents off Trump's desk and thought he was often unaware of foreign policy basics.

Those are some of the explosive anecdotes in Woodward's book on Trump's first 18 months in office. The Washington Post on Tuesday published details from "Fear: Trump in the White House."

Woodward quotes an exasperated Chief of Staff John Kelly doubting Trump's mental faculties, declaring during one meeting, "We're in Crazytown."

Trump's former lawyer in the Russia probe, John Dowd, is also said to have doubted Trump's ability to avoid perjuring himself should he sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller.

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