White House aides saw a Woodward train wreck coming, then jumped aboard

Aides spent months fretting about President Donald Trump opening up to the famous Watergate journalist, fearing the consequences all the way through Wednesday’s bombshell revelations.

Trump bulldozed through them all, believing he could charm the man who helped take down a president and chronicled half a dozen administrations over the past half century…

The interviews revealed that Trump was not candid with the public about the dangers of Covid-19, with the president telling Woodward he was “playing it down” even though it was possibly five times “more deadly” than the flu. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic,” Trump said in one audio clip released Wednesday…

“Sometimes the president does a non-traditional thing and you get a surprising result,” said one senior administration official. “But I don’t think any of us recommended doing it.”