Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’ exonerates Donald Trump on two ballyhooed Russia-related stories
Two of the more sensational Russia probe stories targeting President Trump are rebutted in Bob Woodward’s unflattering book on the president.
In “Fear,” which debuted Tuesday, Mr. Woodward debunks the stories through John Dowd, who was Mr. Trump’s attorney, and his discussions with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.
When questionable stories appeared about what Mr. Mueller was targeting, Mr. Dowd made it a practice of picking up the phone to find out the truth.
The German press reported in December 2017 that Mr. Mueller had subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank, with whom the Trump Organization does extensive business.
The story was quickly picked up by the Washington press as a major escalation of Mr. Mueller’s probe which is supposed to be confined to any Trump-Russia election collusion.
Mr. Dowd called James L. Quarles, Mr. Mueller’s deputy and a veteran of the Watergate prosecution.
“There’s nothing there,” Mr. Quarles told him. “We had subpoenas to Deutsche Bank way back in the summertime, but it doesn’t involve the president or his finances.”
Another potential explosive story came from Bloomberg News on July 20, 2017. “Mueller Expands Probe to Trump’s Business Transactions,” the headline blared.
Bloomberg said the scrutiny even fell on a 10-year-old home sale to a rich Russian in Florida and the 2013 Miss Universe pageant near Moscow. Mr. Trump and NBC jointly owned Miss Universe.
Mr. Dowd called Mr. Quarles.
“The deal was, with you guys, if you guys added to the investigation, we’d get a heads-up first,” Mr. Dowd said. Mr. Quarles agreed.
Later, they met on a park bench near the special counsel office.
“Bob and I owe you one,” Mr. Quarles said. “Bob [Mueller] says don’t believe what you read in the papers.”
“I got it,” Dowd replied.