Donald Trump sues Bob Woodward over The Trump Tapes for $50m | Bob Woodward
Donald Trump is suing Bob Woodward for a share of less than $50 million, alleging he did not consent to a veteran Washington Post reporter publishing audiobook recordings of their conversations.
Publisher Woodward, Simon & Schuster, and its parent company Paramount Global were also named as defendants.
The Trump Tapes were released in October 2022 under the title “Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Donald Trump”.
Amid generally positive reviews, the Guardian called the audiobook a “passport to the heart of darkness” of the Trump presidency.
Woodward has also written three best-selling print books about Trump and his administration: Fear, Fury, and Danger, the latest with Robert Costa. The interviews that compiled The Trump Tapes were primarily conducted from December 2019 to August 2020, when Woodward wrote Rage.
In a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Florida on Monday, Trump’s lawyers said their case “focuses on Mr. Woodward’s systematic usurpation, manipulation and use of President Trump’s audio recordings.”
They also claimed that one conversation was deceptively edited, citing a comparison to a recording made by Trump aide Hogan Gidley at Mar-a-Lago, Florida on December 30, 2019.
That recording, the lawsuit says, contains dialogue in which Woodward tells Trump, “This is again to get the book out before the election.”
Rage was released in the US on September 15, 2020, just under two months before Election Day.
Trump is seeking just under $50 million in damages. According to his lawyers, they reached that amount by looking at sales of Fear, which “has sold over two million copies — that’s the number of copies it’s estimated could be sold from an audio cassette.
“Based on the purchase price of the audio recording of $24.99, the damages suffered by President Trump as a result of the actions of the defendants set forth herein are estimated at a minimum of $49,980,000, excluding punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and court costs.”
Trump first complained when the audiobook was released. Speaking to CNN, Woodward was asked about Trump’s claim that he “never got his permission to release these tapes.”
Woodward said: “Well, they were made voluntarily, it was all on tape. I have used some of them before. So he’s the president and… so he’s there. And that’s to the tenth power.”
Woodward did not immediately comment on Monday. Simon & Schuster and Paramount Global also declined to comment immediately.
Trump is starting to accelerate his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, in which he remains the only declared candidate.
He is in legal danger on many fronts, from his attempts to cancel the 2020 election, his financial affairs and campaign finances, his keeping of secret records, and an allegation of rape by writer E. Jean Carroll, which Trump denies.
Trump has frequently sued media opponents, including CNN. The court recently dismissed a lawsuit against the New York Attorney General.
Meanwhile, the introductory editing section of Trump’s lawsuit against Woodward contains echoes of the scandal that made the reporter famous: Watergate, which ousted Richard Nixon in 1974.
In a correspondence published in The Trump Tapes, Woodward and Trump discuss the first impeachment of Trump, as well as his approaches to Ukraine in connection with the compromise of political rivals.
Trump says the case was “nothing” compared to Watergate.
Woodward says, “But as soon as the Watergate robbers were caught, if Richard Nixon would go on television and say, ‘You know, I’m the man upstairs. I am indirectly responsible for this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, it would disappear.”
Trump says, “Yes, Nixon should have done it… But I can’t, I shouldn’t have done it because I didn’t do anything wrong.”