Administration

Woodward: Economic adviser 'stole a letter off Trump's desk'

President Trump's former top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, twice pulled paperwork off of Trump's desk that the president was intending to sign to withdraw the United States from trade agreements, according to a forthcoming book from veteran journalist Bob Woodward.

The Washington Post, which obtained an advance copy of the book, reported Tuesday that Cohn "stole a letter off Trump's desk" that would have formally withdrawn the U.S. from a trade agreement with South Korea.

Cohn later told an associate that Trump didn't notice the letter was missing. Cohn also reportedly said he took the letter from Trump to protect national security.

The then-director of the National Economic Council separately pulled a different letter from Trump's desk in spring 2017 that would have pulled the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to the Post.

"Why aren't we getting this done? Do your job. It's tap, tap, tap. You're just tapping me along. I want to do this," Trump reportedly told then-staff secretary Rob Porter.

Porter then drafted a letter notifying NAFTA officials that the U.S. would withdraw. Concerned that doing so could trigger an economic crisis, he turned to Cohn for consultation.

"I can stop this," Cohn reportedly said. "I'll just take the paper off his desk."

Woodward's book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," is set to hit shelves next week. It paints a portrait of a disorganized, paranoia-ridden administration filled with staffers trying to stop what they see as Trump's worst instincts.

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