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White House Disputes Trump Quote in Journal Interview

14 Jan 2018 6:15 am
By Louise Radnofsky 

WASHINGTON--The White House disputed that President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Thursday that "I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea," saying that Mr. Trump had instead said "I'd probably have a very good relationship" with the North Korean leader.

The Journal stands by what it reported. The Journal and White House agreed before the interview that audiotape taken by White House officials and reporters would be used for transcription purposes only. After the White House challenged the Journal's transcription and accuracy of the quote in a story, The Journal decided to release the relevant portion of the audio. The White House then released its audio version of the contested segment.

In a message posted to Twitter earlier on Saturday evening, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that "Fake News is at it again!" and said the Journal was "falsely quoting" the president. "President Trump said, I'D probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. I'D -- I'D -- I'D -- NOT I!" the message said.

A transcript of the interview created by an independent transcription service for The Journal and posted online by the newspaper Thursday evening also said that Mr. Trump had said "I" rather than "I'd."

The transcript said that after the remarks, which included characterizations by Mr. Trump of his relationship with President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Journal reporters had asked Mr. Trump whether he had spoken with Mr. Kim, which Mr. Trump declined to answer.

Journal reporters then asked him about his tweets and the combative tone Mr. Trump sometimes took toward Mr. Kim. Mr. Trump replied that he often took that tone "and then all of a sudden somebody's my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You give me 30. I'm a very flexible person."

The White House declined to comment on the Journal's release of the audiotape.

Write to Louise Radnofsky at Louise.Radnofsky@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2018 01:15 ET (06:15 GMT)

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