- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

President Trump’s top economic adviser pretended to have a bad connection in order to cut short a telephone conference call with his boss, a Democratic senator told CNN Wednesday, an account the White House quickly labeled as “completely false.”

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper claimed the incident occurred when both he and Gary Cohn, the former Wall Street banker who heads the White House National Economic Council, were on a conference call with Mr. Trump discussing details of the giant tax reform legislation. Mr. Trump at the time was in the middle of a 12-day trip to East Asia.

Claiming the conversation was not helping the negotiations, Mr. Carper, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he suggested to Mr. Cohn that he tell Mr. Trump, “‘Mr. President, you’re brilliant! But we’re losing contact, and I think we’re going to lose you now, so good-bye.’ And that’s what he did, and he hung up.”

The senator said the two sides “went back to having the kind of conversation that we needed to.”

CNN host John Berman then asked Mr. Carper, “Are you saying Gary Cohn faked a bad connection to get the president off the phone?”

Mr. Carper replied: “I don’t want to throw [Mr. Cohn] under the bus — but, yes.”

“I think that you just did,” CNN co-host Poppy Harlow said.

Within hours of the airing of the broadcast, however, White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah issued a statement contending that “Senator Carper’s claim is completely false.”

Mr. Cohn “took the phone off speaker and continued to speak with the President privately for several minutes before they concluded the call,” Mr. Shah said.

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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