Trump threatens to release ’60 Minutes’ footage early after walking out of interview

U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to release footage from an upcoming interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes before it airs on Sunday, telling his supporters to “watch what we do to” the long-running news program.

Trump’s comments came after he walked out of his interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl at the White House Tuesday, which CBS News confirmed was cut short.

In a statement to Global News, CBS News did not say what may have led to or caused the president to end the interview.

The Associated Press reported the interview “ended acrimoniously,” according to one person familiar with the exchange who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

CNN, citing multiple sources, said Trump sat with Stahl for about 45 minutes before abruptly ending the conversation, telling CBS producers that they had enough material. The New York Times reported Trump “grew irritated” with Stahl’s questions.

According to the reports, Trump did not returned for a planned segment where Stahl was to interview the president alongside Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump took to Twitter and posted a brief video of Stahl inside the White House without a mask, saying the video was taken after their interview.

CBS News confirmed that Stahl, who, like Trump, has recovered from her own bout of COVID-19, had been wearing a mask as she entered the White House and leading up to the interview. The video was taken immediately after her interview with Trump ended, it said.

CNN reported Stahl had not had time to gather her belongings, including her mask, when the video was taken.

Trump then said he was “considering” posting footage of the interview prior to its airing on Sunday.

“This will be done so that everybody can get a glimpse of what a FAKE and BIASED interview is all about,” he said, going on to call the upcoming program “Electoral Intrusion.”

CBS News said the White House had agreed they were taping the interview for archival purposes only. It did not say whether the White House would be liable if the footage was released early.

The 60 Minutes episode to air on Sunday will also include interviews with Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, conducted by CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell.

At a rally in Erie, Pa., Tuesday night, Trump appeared to confirm he will indeed be releasing the interview footage.

“You have to watch what we do to 60 Minutes,” he told the crowd. “You’ll get such a kick of it. You’re going to get a kick out of it. Lesley Stahl is not going to be happy.”

Stahl interviewed Trump for 60 Minutes in 2018 and 2016. The latter interview was Trump’s first national appearance since winning the presidential election.

Stahl told the audience at a Deadline Club Awards event in 2018 that before that 2016 interview while meeting privately in Trump Tower, she asked Trump why he constantly attacks the press.

“He said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.’ He said that,” Stahl said. “Put that in your head for a minute.”

 

— With files from the Associated Press

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