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White House blasts 'reckless' Woodward, doesn't rule out possibility of lawsuit

The White House on Monday labeled Bob Woodward "reckless" and "careless" after some administration officials refuted claims attributed to them in his new book "Fear: Trump in the White House," ratcheting up its war of words with the Watergate reporter.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also didn't rule out a lawsuit against Woodward.

"A number of people have come out and said Woodward never even reached out to corroborate statements attributed to them, which seems incredibly reckless for a book to make such outrageous claims to not even take the time to get a $10 fact-checker to call around and verify that some of these quotes happened," Sanders said during Monday's press briefing.

"When no effort was made it seems like a very careless and reckless way to write a book," she added.

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Sanders noted that Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisBiden pick for Pentagon cruises through confirmation hearing Lloyd Austin is the right nominee for defense secretary and the right leader for this moment Austin pledges to empower Pentagon civilians MORE, chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE and former Trump attorney John Dowd have "aggressively" pushed back against quotes attributed to them in the book.

"I think those are far more credible sources, and far more reliable voices within this administration and that can accurately tell what’s taken place in the building behind me," Sanders said.

However, she dismissed the suggestion that the White House would issue a list of specific claims that are inaccurate in the book.

"I think that would be a complete and utter waste of our time," she said.

The White House has been attacking Woodward since Tuesday, when the first excerpts were published from his new book.

The book, which is set to be released on Tuesday, includes numerous specific instances of high-ranking staff members questioning the president’s competence, and one instance where former top economic aide Gary CohnGary David CohnOn The Money: Wall Street zeros in on Georgia runoffs | Seven states sue regulator over 'true lender' rule on interest rates | 2021 deficit on track to reach .3 trillion Former Trump economic aide Gary Cohn joins IBM The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE steals a document off of Trump’s desk that would have withdrawn the U.S. from a trade deal with South Korea.

Woodward's book is based on hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The Watergate journalist has written a series of tell-all Washington books about previous administrations, a number of which have become best-sellers.  

Trump has consistently attacked Woodward in the days since the excerpts were first released. On Monday morning, he called the book a "joke," and labeled the veteran journalist a "liar who is like a Dem operative prior to the Midterms."

Woodward has stood by his reporting despite the White House's response, saying on Sunday that Kelly and Mattis are "not telling the truth" in their denials.