Donald Trump

Trump Releases Video of '60 Minutes' Interview Before It Airs

Trump eventually cut the interview with Leslie Stahl short and declined to appear with Vice President Mike Pence

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President Donald Trump on Thursday posted his unfiltered interview with CBS's “60 Minutes” on Facebook ahead of the show’s Sunday broadcast.

The footage, recorded and released by the White House, shows Trump growing increasingly prickly as anchor Lesley Stahl presses him on the coronavirus pandemic, his slipping support with suburban women, the lack of masks at his rallies, and the “Obamacare” replacement plan he has long promised but failed to unveil.

Trump tweeted the 38-minute video with the Facebook link: “Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS." And he again preemptively criticized NBC News' Kristen Welker, the moderator of Thursday’s final presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee.

The “60 Minutes” interview starts on a tense footing as Stahl asks the Republican president, “Are you ready for some tough questions?” It only grows more testy.

During the interview he complains repeatedly that Stahl did not ask tough questions of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, to which Stahl responds she did not interview Biden.

Trump also accused Stahl of ignoring stories published in a New York tabloid resurrecting unfounded claims about Biden and the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden, in Ukraine. Stahl notes that the origins of the story trace back to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has pushed the idea that Ukraine was trying to interfere with the 2016 election and that the younger Biden may have enriched himself by selling his access to his father, and former Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon.

The Washington Post reported last week that national security adviser Robert O’Brien had warned Trump that information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia, but that Trump brushed off the warning.

As Trump continued to throw unsubstantiated allegations at Biden and former President Barack Obama, Stahl tried to explain: “This is ‘60 Minutes’ and we can't put on things we can't verify."

But Trump continued to accuse the media of being too soft on his Democratic rival.

“Leslie, you’re discrediting yourself," he said.

As Stahl comments at one point that Trump is offering attack after attack, Trump responds: “It's not attack, it's defense. It's defense against attacks.”

“I'm defending myself and I'm defending the institute of the presidency," he said.

The president abruptly ended the interview with Stahl before a scheduled walk-and-talk with the president and vice president.

"I think we have enough of an interview here," Trump said.

CBS News said earlier this week that the White House asked to tape the interview “for archival purposes only.” In a statement Thursday, the network called 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."

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris are expected to be featured in the same episode with CBS News host Norah O'Donnell.

The Associated Press/NBC
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