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Trump denies calling Sessions 'mentally retarded,' 'dumb Southerner'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE in a tweet Tuesday night denied allegations in reporter Bob Woodward's forthcoming book that he called Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE "mentally retarded" and a "dumb Southerner."

"The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions 'mentally retarded' and 'a dumb southerner,'" Trump tweeted. "I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!"

The president's tweet came hours after excerpts from the Watergate reporter's book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” were released to the public.

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Among the numerous explosive allegations contained in the published passages was a conversation Trump had with a White House aide in which the president derided Sessions as "mentally retarded" and a "dumb Southerner" while mocking the attorney general's Southern accent.

“He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama," Trump also said, according to Woodward's recounting.

The president had already taken to Twitter earlier to describe Woodward's reporting as fraudulent and "a con on the public." He also seemed to suggest the journalist was a Democratic "operative" who timed the release just as the midterm elections are approaching.

His tweet also comes amid heightened tensions between the White House and the Justice Department. Trump has frequently lashed out at his attorney general for his decision to recuse himself from the ongoing federal investigation into Russian election interference. Trump noticeably ramped up the attacks on Labor Day, blasting Sessions for bringing “well publicized” charges against two of his earliest GOP supporters.

The latest attack on Sessions drew heavy criticism from Democrats and members of the legal community, some of whom suggested it could be an "impeachable offense."