Bob Woodward Will ‘Aggressively Defend Against’ Trump’s ‘Rage’ Lawsuit: ‘In the Public Interest to Have This Historical Record’

The former president’s lawsuit against the famed Washington Post journalist claims his interview audio was never authorized for release

Tasos Katopodis/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump is going after famed Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward with a $50 million lawsuit.

The twice-impeached former president filed the lawsuit in Florida on Monday and claims the journalist released audio recordings of their interviews for Woodward’s book “Rage” without authorization. In response, Woodward and publisher Simon & Schuster said that the lawsuit was meritless.

“Former President Trump’s lawsuit is without merit and we will aggressively defend against it,” they said in a statement. “All of these interviews were on the record and recorded with President Trump’s knowledge and agreement. Moreover, it is in the public interest to have this historical record in Trump’s own words. We are confident that the facts and the law are in our favor.”

The complaint indeed also drags Woodward’s publisher Simon & Schuster and its parent company Paramount Global into the legal fray as he attempts to make the case that Woodward used “systematic usurpation, manipulation, and exploitations of audio” released to the public – actions that Trump ranted about previously on Truth Social.

Trump’s fury stems from the rollout of the audiobook “The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Donald Trump.” Released in October 2022, it presents full audio of the interviews done from December 2019 to August 2020 at the White House and Mar-a-Lago with Trump’s permission. The interviews were the basis of Woodward’s 2020 book “Rage,” which generated controversy as it showed the extent to which Trump downplayed the COVID-19 pandemic.

With “Rage” falling short of the commercial success of Woodward’s 2018 Trump book “Fear,” Trump is making the case in the new lawsuit that the journalist and his publisher essentially altered his words, or “conspired to, and did, collate and cobble together more than eight hours of ‘raw’ interviews” and put them out “without President Trump’s permission.”

“Paramount, SSI, and Woodward deviated from industry standard practices, did not obtain the requisite releases, misappropriated President Trump’s copyright interests, manipulated the recordings to benefit Woodward’s desired narrative while peddling the story that the recordings are ‘raw,’ and deprived President Trump of the opportunity to publish or not to publish his words, read in his voice,” the verbiage of the legal complaint reads.

The audiobook was published as a paperback and e-book since its initial release, and the lawsuit is based on the price of each audiobook as it seeks to recoup $49 million – exclusive of punitive damages and attorney’s fees. 

Woodward is hardly the first journalist or other prominent figure to draw out Trump’s litigious nature. The former president sued and then withdrew a defamation lawsuit against CNN and New York Attorney General Letitia James for intimidation after a Florida judge fined him and his attorney more than $1 million over what the jurist considered a “completely frivolous” lawsuit against Hilary Clinton and other political rivals. U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks noted Trump’s “pattern of abuse of the courts” for politically motivated lawsuits, which “undermines the rule of law” and “amounts to obstruction of justice,” the Associated Press reported.