Stephen Colbert interviewed Bob Woodward about his new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, on Monday's Late Show, and he began by asking: "Why do people talk to you?" Woodward laughed and explained that he has a couple of techniques, including patience, persistence, genuine interest, flattery, and silence. "It's a way of saying, 'You're important to this story, I take you seriously,'" he said. Reporters at the major national newspapers do great work, he said, but "they can't do the ninth interview with somebody before they publish."
Some of the people quoted in Fear deny saying the things attributed to them, Colbert told Woodward, mentioning Defense Secretary James Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and former Trump lawyer John Dowd. "These are people who are trying to survive and keep their job," Woodward said, explaining that the same officials have told reporters similar things off-the-record and he doesn't do off-the-record because he thinks it cheats the public. The Trump White House has shocked him more than any of the eight others he's covered, he added, because Trump fundamentally doesn't understand that national security is more than just the U.S. military. The fact that Trump is stubbornly wrong about everything from basic economics to national security isn't a partisan issue, he added. "We'd better wake up to what's really going on."
"What makes you afraid?" Colbert asked Woodward, and he said "not knowing" what's going on in the Oval Office or Trump's head. Colbert asked how we can know what's going on when Trump changes his mind daily, or maybe forgets what he thought yesterday. "That's part of the problem," Woodward conceded. Colbert suggested that the last line of the book, about Dowd wanting to call Trump "a f---ing liar," kind of "buried the lede." Woodward shrugged off Trump calling him a liar on Twitter, saying he feels comfortable the truth will ultimately win. Watch below. Peter Weber