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Trump responds to leak of off-the-record comments in Bloomberg News interview

NAFTA 2.0: Impact of potential trade deal

President Trump responded to a Toronto Star story about off-the-record comments he was alleged to have made about trade talks with Canada in an interview with Bloomberg News Thursday. The report said Mr. Trump had told Bloomberg in remarks that were not to be reported that he is not making compromises in trade negotiations with Canada. According to the Star, Mr. Trump told Bloomberg News reporters that he could not say this on the record because "it's going to be so insulting they're not going to be able to make a deal." He also reportedly said that a deal with Canada would be "totally on our terms."

Mr. Trump tweeted on Friday afternoon that the report of his off-the-record comments was "more dishonest reporting." However, while the president criticized Bloomberg News for the leak repeatedly on Friday at public appearances and on Twitter, the reporter for the Toronto Star story said on Saturday that the information had not been leaked from Bloomberg News reporters.

"I'd said I wasn't going to say anything about my source for the quotes Trump made off the record to Bloomberg," Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale wrote on Twitter. "However, I don't want to be party to the president's smearing of excellent, ethical journalists. So I can say this: none of the Bloomberg interviewers was my source."

"Trump is calling Jennifer Jacobs, Margaret Talev and their editor liars. They aren't, and they didn't violate their "off the record" promise to him. I don't want to be a party to his attempt to make fellow reporters look deceitful," Dale continued in a subsequent tweet.

Mr. Trump made multiple references to the Toronto Star story Friday.

"Wow, I made OFF THE RECORD COMMENTS to Bloomberg concerning Canada, and this powerful understanding was BLATANTLY VIOLATED. Oh well, just more dishonest reporting. I am used to it. At least Canada knows where I stand!" Mr. Trump wrote on Friday, confirming that the accuracy of the report about his comments.

"Still can't believe that Bloomberg violated a firm OFF THE RECORD statement. Will they put out an apology?" Mr. Trump wrote in another tweet on Friday evening.

The Toronto Star report clarified that while Bloomberg News had entered into an off-the-record agreement with Mr. Trump, Dale was not bound to any such agreement. The Star cited "a source" in the report. Bloomberg News did not comment about the off-the-record remarks to the Toronto Star.

Mr. Trump negotiated a trade deal with Mexico earlier this week, but has not made an agreement with Canada.

The White House did not directly respond to a request for comment by CBS News about whether Mr. Trump made those remarks.

"The Canadian and American negotiators continue to work on reaching a win-win deal that benefits both countries," said Lindsay Walters, the White House deputy press secretary, said in a statement.

Earlier on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference that "our government's approach is always to stay constructive, positive and engage on the substance of issues."

"We are also going to be unequivocal about always standing up for Canadians' rights and Canadians' interests. That is what people expect. That's what I'm going to do," Trudeau said.