“If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” Woodward said. At that point, he said, the issue was no longer one of public health but of politics. His priority became getting the story out before the election in November.

“That was the demarcation line for me,” he said. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on Christmas, the end of this year, that would have been unthinkable.”

Asked why he didn’t share Trump’s February remarks for a fellow Post reporter to pursue, Woodward said he had developed “some pretty important sources” on his own.

“Could I have brought others in? Could they have done things I couldn’t do?” he asked. “I was on the trail, and I was (still) on the trail when it (the virus) exploded.”