Trump Says If Gary Cohn Stole Papers, He’ll Never Speak to Him Again

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said he would never speak again to Gary Cohn if the former top White House adviser stole paperwork from his desk.

“If he did that, I would never speak to him again, I would never speak to him again,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday.

A new book on the Trump presidency by journalist Bob Woodward includes details of how then-economic adviser Cohn stopped the president from ordering an exit from Nafta and a trade deal with South Korea. Trump told reporters Friday he thinks the account is a “phony story.”

The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive resigned as head of Trump’s National Economic Council earlier this year after failing to block new tariffs on steel and aluminum. But according to Woodward, he quietly saved the South Korea-U.S. trade agreement, known as Korus, when in 2017 he removed a “letter off Trump’s desk” that the president planned to sign that would have ordered a U.S. withdrawal.

Cohn told a colleague that he stole the letter to protect national security, the Washington Post reported citing a copy of the book it obtained in advance of its public release, which is scheduled for Tuesday. He also did something similar in the spring of 2017 when Trump was eager to pull out of Nafta.

According to the book, then-Staff Secretary Rob Porter advised Cohn that Trump had ordered him to draft paperwork withdrawing from Nafta. Cohn told Porter, according to Woodward: “I can stop this. I’ll just take the paper off his desk.”

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