FEATURED:

CNN: Trump searching for Woodward sources in White House

CNN: Trump searching for Woodward sources in White House
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE has undertaken an effort to determine who cooperated with veteran journalist Bob Woodward for his forthcoming book about the White House, CNN reported Wednesday.

Two unidentified officials who have spoken with the president told the network that Trump is happy with initial denials from chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: US, South Korea cancel another military exercise | Dozen sailors injured in chopper crash on aircraft carrier | Navy vet charged with sending toxic letters US, South Korea cancel another military exercise Top US Afghan commander drew his sidearm during this week's attack: report MORE, but is looking to see who else pushes back against claims published in the book.

"He wants to know who talked to Woodward," one official told CNN.

An official told the network that it is unclear if anybody will lose their job because it would give credibility "to a book [Trump] is trying to discredit."

ADVERTISEMENT

CNN reported that Trump believes former national security adviser H.R. McMaster and former economic adviser Gary CohnGary David CohnOn The Money: Mnuchin pulls out of Saudi summit | Consumer bureau to probe controversial blog posts on race | Harris proposes new middle-class tax credit Cohn defends rate hikes, says Trump shouldn't attack Fed Dina Powell no longer under in running to become UN ambassador MORE may be responsible for anecdotes in the book, since they are featured prominently in excerpts.

The first excerpts from Woodward's book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," were published on Tuesday, and painted a portrait of a White House rife with in-fighting and undergoing a "nervous breakdown."

The excerpts included numerous quotes in which Trump and his top aides insult each other.

Trump, for example, mocked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE’s accent when speaking with another staffer, according to the book, and described him as “mentally retarded” and “this dumb Southerner.”

Trump also reportedly told Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossSessions attacks judge who ordered officials to sit for depositions in challenges to Census citizenship question Harris accuses GOP of ‘weaponizing’ 2020 Census DOJ: Commerce chief spoke with Bannon, Sessions about census citizenship question MORE he didn’t trust him to negotiate, suggested former national security adviser H.R. McMaster dressed “like a beer salesman” and called former chief of staff Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusRepublican Party chief to serve second term at Trump’s request Priebus: Republican voters energized by 'Kavanaugh effect' Kelly called Warren 'impolite,' 'arrogant:' report MORE “a little rat.”

Kelly is said to have called Trump an "idiot" and "unhinged" and described working in the White House as "Crazytown," while Mattis suggested Trump acts like a "fifth- or sixth-grader."

Trump and the White House have attacked Woodward's credibility in response to the book, which is due out on Sept. 11.

“This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the president look bad,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Kelly denied he called Trump an idiot, reissuing a statement he provided after NBC News reported in April that he used the same term to describe Trump.

“I’m committed to the President, his agenda, and our country,” Kelly said Tuesday. “This is another pathetic attempt to smear people close to President Trump and distract from the administration’s many successes.”

Mattis issued a separate statement denying that he ever said or heard the statements attributed to him in the book excerpts.

“While I generally enjoy reading fiction, this is a uniquely Washington brand of literature, and his anonymous sources do not lend credibility,” Mattis said.

Woodward has stood by his reporting.

While Trump has suggested Woodward is a "Dem operative" and claimed he has "credibility problems," The Washington Post published audio and a transcript of a phone call between the president and the Watergate reporter last month.

In that conversation, Woodward explains that he contacted a half-dozen aides in an attempt to interview the president, while Trump said he never heard about the requests.

“It’s really too bad, because nobody told me about it, and I would’ve loved to have spoken to you,” Trump told Woodward. “You know I’m very open to you. I think you’ve always been fair.”