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Trump Releases Early Tape of His '60 Minutes' Interview, Breaks Agreement with CBS

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Trump Releases Early Tape of His '60 Minutes' Interview, Breaks Agreement with CBS

2020-10-23 16:45:47

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

There's no other way to look at it other than Donald Trump just doesn't have a good rapport with women in the media. Much has been said about Savannah Guthrie owning him during his town hall last week. While he seemed to be subdued during the debate with Kristen Welker moderating, he struggled so much in his interview with Lesley Stahl for "60 Minutes" that he walked out of the interview.

Trump seemed desperate after that to let his supporters know this woman did not get the best of him — it's not why he walked out. He wanted to show he gave her a good interview, and time was simply over, so against the White House's agreement with CBS, he released a video of the interview ahead of the show's scheduled airing on Sunday evening.

A week before the Nov. 3 election, "60 Minutes" is airing a show on Sunday with interviews of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Trump's interview is with Stahl, who has interviewed him before. After his one-on-one with her, they were supposed to film a bit with Stahl, Trump, and Pence walking and talking.

The president only sat for about 45 minutes, then stood up to leave and didn't want to hang around for the appearance with Stahl and Pence.

He tweeted later that day that he was "considering" posting a copy of the interview that the White House was holding onto. He wanted to do this "so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about."

By Thursday morning, he was teasing it again, discussing "the vicious attempted 'takeout' interview of me." Thirty-seven minutes of the Stahl interview was posted to Trump's Facebook page.

In doing so, Trump and the White House violated an agreement with CBS News. They said the White House was taping "for archival purposes only," according to a network source with knowledge of the matter. The man who sues people for violating nondisclosure agreements should understand that.

"The White House's unprecedented decision to disregard their agreement with CBS News and release their footage will not deter '60 Minutes' from providing its full, fair, and contextual reporting, which presidents have participated in for decades," said CBS on Thursday afternoon.

" '60 Minutes,' the most-watched news program on television, is widely respected for bringing its hallmark fairness, deep reporting, and informative context to viewers each week. Few journalists have the presidential interview experience Lesley Stahl has delivered over her decades as one of the premier correspondents in America, and we look forward to audiences seeing her third interview with President Trump and subsequent interview with Vice President Pence this weekend."

CBS posted a 90-second clip of the interview on social media. In this clip, Stahl mentions Trump's claim that his administration "created the greatest economy in the history of our country."

She challenged, "You know that's not true. No."

In Trump's clip, Stahl starts by asking Trump, "Are you ready for some tough questions?" He replies, "Just be fair. ... I'm looking for fairness." She assures him that's what he'll get.

He complained to her at one point, "You're so negative. You're so negative." She asked him about his rallies begging suburban women to vote for him, and he called that a "misleading question."

As he is wan to do, he made many claims about the accomplishments of his administration. She remained skeptical of this claims, leaving him to pronounce, "You're really quite impossible to convince."

As Trump has had to do often the past couple weeks, Stahl asked him to defend his comments about the nation's top infectious disease doctor, Anthony Fauci, who is part of his coronavirus task force. She asked about calling him and other health officials, "idiots."

"Where did I call him an idiot?" he asked. He shrugged off the question, adding, "Well, he's been wrong. I like him, but he's been wrong a lot."

Stahl had said from the start, she didn't plan to fact-check Trump, and he replied, "Well, you don't have to fact-check me."

Yet, once he discussed his oft-mentioned complaint that his campaign was "spied on," the journalist replied, "There's no real evidence of that. ... This is '60 Minutes.' And we can't put on things we can't verify."

For her part, she did get the president to admit throughout the country, instances of new COVID-19 cases are up. He admitted to this, only to excuse it by saying, "cases are up because we're doing so much testing."

Stahl also asked about people wearing masks at his rallies. He responded, "A lot of people are wearing masks."

"And a lot of people aren't she added. "I am watching all these people jammed together, and I'm seeing most of them without masks, and I'm wondering about the message you're sending with these pictures."

From there, it just continued to get more and more combative. Trump accused Stahl of "protecting" Biden by giving him soft coverage. He insisted she wouldn't interview him as harshly.

When she claimed he was trying to "discredit" the media, Trump suggested, "You discredit yourself. I don't have to discredit you."

He complained that many of Stahl's questions were on topics that were "inappropriately brought up." She shot back, "You're president. Don't you think you should be accountable to the American people?"

At the end of the clip Trump posted, he complained about her questions. "That's no way to talk," he said, as if he was admonishing her. He would certainly word it differently if talking to a man.

A man's voice is heard and cuts in, "Lesley, one second, we're — this is the first warning." The man then says, "I think we have five minutes until we have the vice president step in. Is that about right?"

Trump responded, "Well, I think we have enough. Really, we have enough of an interview." He suggested he and the man who had been talking "go meet for two seconds." He got up to leave and told Stahl, "I'll see you later. Thanks." 

He absolutely threw his vice president under the bus. This was supposed to be the two of them together, and this left him to do it alone. It will be interesting to see how "60 Minutes" presents this on Sunday.

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