by Luis Miguel, The New American:
CBS News lashed out at President Trump on Thursday after he followed through with his promise to publish his complete 60 Minutes interview with the network’s Lesley Stahl in order to showcase what he considered to be biased questioning on the part of the broadcast veteran.
“I will soon be giving a first in television history full, unedited preview of the vicious attempted ‘takeout interview’ of me by Lesley Stahl of @60Minutes. Watch her constant interruptions & anger,” the president wrote on Twitter early Thursday. “Compare my full, flowing and ‘magnificently brilliant’ answers to their ‘Q’s’.”
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He then went on to publish the 37-minute long interview in its entirety on Facebook hours later. “Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS. Tonight’s anchor, Kristen Welker, is far worse!” President Trump wrote in the accompanying post text.
In a preview released by CBS, Trump and Stahl disagreed over the state of the economy prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We created the greatest economy in the history of our country,” the president said before Stahl chimed in, “You know that’s not true.”
In a tweet previewing the interview of the president and of Democratic candidate Joe Biden, CBS wrote that 60 Minutes “has a history of asking tough questions of presidential candidates during the runup to the election.”
As seen in the full interview footage, Stahl began the conversation by asking President Trump if he was “ready for tough questions.” The president replied that he only wanted her to be “fair.”
“But you’re OK with some tough questions?” Stahl asked.
“No, I’m not,” he replied.
At one point, Stahl noted that President Trump is “behind” in the polls as he was in 2016, but then said that with unemployment and “rising COVID” cases together, “it’s like the gods have decided to conspire against you.”
Throughout the interview, Stahl repeatedly interrupted the president to try to counteract his responses as he was saying them. In the early portion of the dialogue, she focused heavily on COVID-19, insisting that the White House has done a poor job of handling the virus and parroting the mainstream talking point about rising cases, despite the fact that most people who contract the virus recover quickly without serious symptoms.
Things became testy when the conversation turned to Hunter Biden. When the president said that Joe Biden is in the middle of a scandal, in reference to the compromising material found on the laptop of his son, Hunter, Stahl interrupted dismissively, “He’s not! He’s not! No, come on!”
“You’re like Big Tech. You’re protecting him, and everyone is,” the president responded.
“Do you think it’s ok for the mayor of Moscow’s wife to give him … millions of dollars?” he asked. “Do you think it’s okay for Hunter Biden to say ‘we’re giving the big guy ten percent’ of this massive amount of money they’re taking?” He went on to call the discoveries on Hunter Biden’s laptop the “second biggest scandal,” with the biggest scandal being the spying on the Trump campaign during the Obama administration.
“There’s no evidence of that,” Stahl shot back, and interrupted “no!” when the president affirmed that there is.
“This is 60 Minutes and we can’t put on things we can’t verify,” Stahl added. When President Trump again said that his campaign was spied on, Stahl reasserted “but we can’t verify that.”
“It’s been totally verified,” the president countered. “Just go down and get the papers.”
A user wrote in the comment section of the video: “The ‘proof’ of Trump’s charges against the Biden boys, father and son, which Leslie Stahl calls into question, may not be incontrovertible, but it is COMPELLING, and SHOULD be pursued by the media to see where it leads! WHY is that not happening?… Consider whether their reaction would, in fact, be the same if that dirty work involved not Hunter Biden…..but Don Trump, Jr.! You can damned well bet that the media would be all over it…….even if there were barely a whiff of scandalous behavior involved!”
Contrary to what some of the president’s detractors said, he did not storm out of the interview. Rather, near the end of the footage, a person off camera told President Trump that Vice President Pence would soon be ready for a joint interview with him that Stahl was slated to conduct after the solo interview.
“Well, I think we have enough,” the president said. “I think we have enough of an interview here. OK? That’s enough. Let’s go, let’s go.”
“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,” CBS News said in a statement.