Woodward: Mattis, Kelly denials of his book quotes untrue

FILE - This June 11, 2012 file photo shows former Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward speaking during an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Watergate in Washington. Woodward says top staffers in President Donald Trump’s administration “are not telling the truth” when they deny incendiary quotes about Trump attributed to them in his new book.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

Longtime journalist Bob Woodward says Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly “are not telling the truth” when they deny making incendiary quotes about President Donald Trump attributed to them in his new book, “Fear.”

Kelly is quoted calling Trump “an idiot” while Mattis is quoted saying Trump has the understanding of “a fifth- or sixth-grader.” They’ve denied making the statements.

Asked Monday on NBC’s “Today” show about their denials, Woodward said, “They are not telling the truth.” He said “these are political statements to protect their jobs.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Woodward said that “frequently” a source says something to him and then publicly denies it after publication.

Trump has called the book “fiction.”

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