(CBS News) – President Trump is in a dustup with “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl, after a confrontational interview for an upcoming segment on CBS. In an unprecedented move, the White House released the interview ahead of Sunday’s (10/25) show.
President Trump cut short Tuesday’s interview with Stahl at the White House. It was Stahl’s third interview with the president and included tense moments.
President Donald Trump: The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign. They spied on my campaign, Lesley.
Lesley Stahl: There’s no real evidence of that.
President Trump: Of course there is, it’s all over the place. Lesley –
Lesley Stahl: Sir.
President Trump: They spied on my campaign and they got caught.
Lesley Stahl: Can I say something? You know, this is “60 Minutes” and we can’t put on things we can’t verify.
From there, the discussion grew more contentious. President Trump threatened to post the entire interview before its Sunday airdate. Thursday, the White House did exactly that.
CBS News responded with a statement saying, “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.”
A senior White House official tells CBS News the president felt the interview was unfair and wanted to make it public. “60 Minutes” released its own excerpts showing the president’s growing irritation at being pressed for answers.
President Trump: … tell people to wear masks –
Lesley Stahl: But you don’t.
President Trump: Lesley, we hand out thousands of masks at every rally –
Lesley Stahl: But you look out and they’re not wearing them and you don’t say please put on your mask.
Some media experts are calling the president’s decision to release the video a form of distraction. “In this case the president’s doing it in order to blunt whatever the result would be when this thing airs,” Al Tompkins from the Poynter Institute says.
CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave asked Tompkins, “is it also an attempt to bully journalists?” Tompkins responded, “No doubt. I mean, look the president has said that one of his great tactics is to constantly call into question the public’s trust of journalism.”
“60 Minutes” says the interview with President Trump and another with former Vice President Joe Biden will air as planned this Sunday.
Full CBS News Statement:
“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.”