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Trump releases unedited video of contentious '60 Minutes' interview he abruptly left

Throughout the interview, the president expressed frustration that the questions posed by Lesley Stahl would not be asked of his opponent.
Image: U.S. President Donald Trump campaign rally in Gastonia, North Carolina
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Gastonia, N.C., on Wednesday.Tom Brenner / Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday released what appeared to be the full, unedited interview with "60 Minutes" that he abruptly walked out of this week because, he said, it showed the media's bias against him.

Trump released a video of the interview — segments of which CBS was set to air Sunday — which lasted nearly 38 minutes and showed only the angle of a White House camera that faced him, which White House officials and the network agreed would be used only for archival purposes.

The interview was contentious, with correspondent Lesley Stahl asking Trump a wide range of questions that touched on his top domestic priorities, the rise of Covid-19 case numbers in the U.S., why he doesn't encourage people to wear masks and how he would protect people with pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act.

"Are you ready for some tough questions?" Stahl asked Trump at the beginning of the clip. In response, Trump said he was "looking for fairness."

Throughout the interview, Trump expressed frustration that the questions posed by Stahl wouldn't be asked of former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger.

"You wouldn't say that to Biden, what you just said to me. If he had it, if he had it, you would never say that to Biden," Trump said after Stahl said his claims of having the biggest economy in the history of the country weren't true.

Stahl brought up several of Trump's recent comments, which he either denied having made altogether or said were intended to be sarcastic.

"That is such a misleading question," Trump said after Stahl asked why he appeared to beg suburban women to like him.

"I said that in a joking way," he said.

Stahl mentioned that Trump called Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an "idiot" this week. Trump replied, "Where did I call him an idiot?"

During a conference call with his campaign staff this week, Trump said, "People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots — these people, these people that have gotten it wrong."

Trump then kept trying to talk about alleged Hunter Biden emails that federal investigators are examining to determine whether they were linked to a foreign intelligence operation.

"Can I say something? This is '60 Minutes,'" Stahl said. "We can't put on things we can't verify."

Trump said that the matter is the "biggest scandal out there" and that Stahl had "discredited herself" by refusing to ask him questions about it.

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Toward the end of the interview, Trump said Stahl had brought up subjects "inappropriately" from the beginning.

"Your first statement to me is this is going to be tough questions," said Trump, who tried to mock Stahl's question. "But when you set up the interview, you said, 'Oh, let's have a lovely interview.'

"I see Joe Biden getting softball after softball. I've never seen him get asked a question that was hard," Trump said.

An official then said they needed to wrap the interview in five minutes.

"I think we have enough. Really, we have enough. I think we have enough of an interview here, OK?" said Trump, who appeared to be very tense. "Let's go. Let's go."

CBS News ripped Trump in a statement Thursday for his "unprecedented decision" to release the interview himself and indicated that it still planned to air it, saying "their footage will not deter 60 MINUTES from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades."

CORRECTION (Oct. 22, 2020, 6:55 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of the CBS News correspondent who conducted the interview. She is Lesley Stahl, not Leslie.