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Bob Woodward talked out of exposing Brett Kavanaugh as anonymous source by Washington Post editor: report

Bob Woodward was prepared to unmask Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLaurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election LIVE COVERAGE: Senate set to consider Garland for AG A powerful tool to take on the Supreme Court — if Democrats use it right MORE during his contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings as an anonymous source for a book the Watergate icon wrote more than 20 years ago but was talked out of it by the Washington Post's top editor, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Woodward was reportedly set to expose Kavanaugh as an anonymous source for his 1999 book "Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate." At the time the book was being written, Kavanaugh served as a lawyer on independent counsel Ken Starr's team in its investigation of President Clinton.

The revelation would have publicly contradicted what Kavanaugh said in a letter to the Post in 1999, the Times noted. 

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Woodward's unmasking of Kavanaugh was set to be published in October 2018, according to the Times, which added that Post executive editor Martin Baron urged Woodward to not burn his source because it would be "bad for Bob" and the newspaper itself if Kavanaugh were exposed.

Woodward's story never ran as a result.

Kavanaugh, who was accused by several women of sexual misconduct dating back to his high school and college days in the '80s, was confirmed by the Senate after the politically charged hearings in a 50-48 Senate vote primarily along party lines.

Woodward will release a second book about the Trump administration on Sept. 15, just seven weeks before the 2020 presidential election, according to publisher Simon & Schuster. The new book will include interviews with President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE, who didn't participate in Woodward's previous book on the administration, "Fear: Trump in the White House," released in 2018.

During his Watergate investigative reporting and for decades after, Woodward, along with Carl BernsteinCarl BernsteinCan the media regain credibility under Biden? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hectic week shaping up in DC Carl Bernstein calls Trump's Georgia call 'far worse than Watergate' MORE, steadfastly protected his primary source, known only as "Deep Throat." In 2005, former FBI Deputy Director William Mark Felt publicly confirmed he was the source.