Woodward releases tapes of Trump interviews

Journalist Bob Woodward has released tapes of his interviews with President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE for a new book, including audio of Trump acknowledging he purposely downplayed the risks of the coronavirus.

Portions of the audio were played by CNN and MSNBC and released on The Washington Post website, where Woodward is an associate editor.

"Well I think, Bob, really to be honest with you..." Trump says in one audio clip of a March 19 interview posted by CNN.

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"Sure, I want you to be," Woodward replies.

"I wanted to — I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic," Trump says.

In another interview, in February, Trump called the virus more deadly even than a bad flu, a sharp contrast to his public remarks at the time downplaying the risks from the virus.

"It's also more deadly than your — you know, your, even your strenuous flus," Trump said on Feb. 7.

The audio drives home the revelations in Woodward's new book, "Rage," slated to be released next week, and can help counter White House efforts to downplay the revelations.