Trump goes to war with ’60 Min,’ threatens to share footage of contested ‘testy’ interview before it airs

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President Donald Trump took to social media Tuesday to respond to reports that he “cut short” a “60 Minutes” interview with CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl, or that he “walked out.”

With the election less than two weeks away, a media-savvy Trump is dependent on largely unfriendly news organizations to get in front of the American people, but it’s clear there’s little trust involved.

 

The White House reportedly taped the interview, which took place at the Executive Mansion, for archival purposes and Trump threatened to release the footage ahead of its scheduled Sunday airtime.

The president tweeted: “I am pleased to inform you that, for the sake of accuracy in reporting, I am considering posting my interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, PRIOR TO AIRTIME! This will be done so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about…

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was also interviewed for Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” with CBS News correspondent Norah O’Donnell asking the questions, and it’s not clear if Trump was referencing that interview, but he did mention Biden in a follow-up tweet.

“Everyone should compare this terrible Electoral Intrusion with the recent interviews of Sleepy Joe Biden!” he tweeted.

The Daily Mail reported that the “ill-tempered” interview included Stahl grilling the president on his handling of the pandemic, exchanges he has had with Dr. Anthony Fauci, and his rhetoric involving Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

She was said to have brought up the allegations against Joe Biden’s son Hunter, only to reportedly tell the president that they were unverified. Sources also told the tabloid that Stahl said the Obama administration did not spy on his campaign.

Earlier in the day, Trump shared a short clip while noting that Stahl wasn’t wearing a mask, promising “much more to come.”

Stahl wore a mask as she entered the White House and removed it when socially distanced just before the interview began, according to CBS News, which explained that Stahl was speaking with her producers in the clip Trump shared.

The interview with Stahl was said to be “testy,” but Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller responded to CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins tweeting that there was “some drama” involved to dispute that it ended abruptly.

According to Collins, President Trump “abruptly ended” his interview after about 45 minutes and “did not return for a scheduled walk [and] talk he was supposed to tape with Pence.”

“Very fake news!” Miller tweeted. “No drama, interview was not ended abruptly, and we have the receipts from the interview – all of them! Maybe we need to put the whole thing out so people can see for themselves?”

Citing an anonymous source, NBC News reported that Trump ended interview during a “natural breaking point in the conversation.”

“I think you have what you need,” the president told Stahl, according to the source.

Tom Tillison

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