WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump on Thursday released raw footage from an interview he did with “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, breaking an agreement to keep the material private until an edited version could air this weekend.
The footage shows Stahl, a veteran journalist who has interviewed Trump twice before, asking direct questions and refuting some of Trump’s answers on topics including healthcare and the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS,” Trump said in post on his Twitter profile on Thursday morning, with a link to his Facebook page, where he posted the nearly 38 minute interview.
The Facebook post quickly gained attention, garnering more than 26,000 comments in less than two hours.
The White House had kept a single-frame copy of the interview, in which only Trump is visible but Stahl can be heard asking questions. It shows Trump repeatedly asking Stahl and her employer, CBS News, to ask tough questions of Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
“Are you ready for some tough questions?” Stahl asked at the start of the interview.
“Just be fair,” the president said.
When Stahl asked him about priorities for a second term and Trump talked about having created “the greatest economy in the history of the country,” Stahl immediately broke in.
“You know that’s not true,” she said.
Trump objected and said she wouldn’t address his opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, in the same manner.
Throughout the interview, Trump returned to accusations against Biden’s son, based on an unconfirmed New York Post report, and said the media was being too soft on his Democratic rival.
As Stahl commented at one point that Trump was offering attack after attack, Trump responded: “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.
As Trump continued to throw allegations at Biden and former President Barack Obama, Stahl said: “This is ‘60 Minutes’ and we can’t put on things we can’t verify.”
Trump eventually cut the interview short and declined to appear with Pence.
In video of Stahl’s later encounter with Pence, she said “you both have insulted ‘60 Minutes’ and me by not answering any of our questions and by giving set campaign speeches that we’ve heard both of you give at rallies.”
She said she was upset by how the interviews had gone.
“Well, Lesley, I appreciate the speech that you just gave,” Pence replied. “But I’ve answered all your questions. And I’ve spoken about the things the American people care about.”
CBS News, a division of ViacomCBS Inc and the network that airs “60 Minutes,” responded to the release of the footage, saying Trump’s “unprecedented decision” to disregard an agreement to keep the footage private would not deter the show “from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades.”
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. 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 NEWS
The interview, which took place on Tuesday, will air on Sunday on “60 Minutes,” alongside interviews with Biden, his running mate Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump said on the tape that the country has “turned a corner” in its battle with the pandemic and that he believes masks are an effective tool to prevent transmission.
The president also said he hopes the Supreme Court will “end” Obamacare and that he would then replace it with a less-expensive plan “that will take care of people with pre-existing conditions.”
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report