Trump threatened to go after Maggie Haberman’s phone records: new book

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman reports in her book — “Confidence Man,” released Tuesday — that former President Trump had internally threatened to go after her phone records to reveal leaks.

Driving the news: “Trump, angered by my published stories, roared that he wanted administration officials to get hold of my phone records and identify my sources,” Haberman writes.

  • “It didn’t look like anyone ever acted on it.”

Why is it important: News organizations go to great lengths to prevent the government from viewing their communications, in part to protect the identities of sources who help reveal what’s really going on.

Link: NY Times columnist Frank Bruni saysDonald Can’t Quit Maggie,” which pretty much sums it up.

  • Trump, in the course of giving Haberman three interviews for this book, aides said, “I love being with her; she’s like my psychiatrist.”

Trump’s obsession: He has called her “Maggot Haberman” and tweeted in 2018: “Maggie Haberman, a Hillary flunky, knows nothing about me and won’t get in.”

  • In February, in a statement about the book, he reiterated that she “knows nothing about me.”

What we hear: When there’s a negative story in The Times, Trump privately calls it “Maggie’s story”—regardless of the author.

  • Trump has been known to yell, “I’m never talking to her.” Helpers roll their eyes.

Joe Klein, in a NY Times review by “Confidence Man”, calls Haberman “famously formidable”:

  • “The only other journalist who can match her access to a recent president is Lou Cannon, who spent much of his life covering Ronald Reagan.”
  • “She is an exemplar of her craft, relentless, thoughtful and level-headed, giving credit where it’s due to her colleagues and other biographers.”

When asked on Trump’s threat about Haberman’s records, spokesman Taylor Budowich responded with his standard commentary on Haberman’s book:

  • “While coastal elites obsess over boring books filled with anonymously sourced falsehoods, America is a nation in decline. President Trump is focused on saving America, and there’s nothing Fake News can do about it.”

Go deeper: Free Book Excerpt (CNN)

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