If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my free Email alerts. Thanks for visiting!
“DO YOU WANT TO LOCK UP OBAMA?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 24, 2020) — On Thursday, President Trump released raw video of a sit-down interview he conducted with CBS News’s Lesley Stahl on Tuesday in which she asked him if he wishes to “lock up” former White House occupant Barack Obama; Obama’s former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, among many other questions.
The broad-ranging discussion depicts Trump answering Stahl’s many queries and arguments for approximately 37 minutes while she is positioned off-camera.
As the session begank, Stahl asked Trump if he were “ready for some tough questions” while assuring him she would be “fair” at his request. “You don’t ask Joe Biden tough questions…it’s terrible,” Trump responded with a smile (0:29), even eliciting a short laugh from Stahl.
Addressing Trump in what could be viewed as a highly contentious exchange, Stahl argued, rather than followed up, with the responses he provided. As to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the reopening of states, and Trump’s public remarks on “masks,” Trump finally responded, “You know what — well — look, with you, nothing I said would be any good, Lesley” (33:48).
“That’s not true, Mr. President; that’s not true,” Stahl replied.
Toward the end of the session, without any preamble, Stahl pressed Trump as to whether or not he would like to see Clinton, who Trump had thus far not mentioned, “locked up,” along with “the Bidens,” Whitmer and “Obama.”
Prior to that moment, “Obama” had not been a subject of any questioning nor of Trump’s responses.
“I never said, ‘Lock up the governor of Michigan,'” Trump replied (34:42). “…I never said it, Lesley..It’s such a vicious thing you just said. Why would I say that? She’s doing ‘lockdowns.'”
Stahl had maintained that Trump advocated the move because at certain rallies, his supporters had chanted, “Lock her up” in reference to Whitmer, who has imposed some of the most restrictive measures on her citizens since the pandemic was announced in March. Following the uncovering earlier this month of a plot to kidnap her, Whitmer told NBC News that Trump was encouraging “domestic terrorism.”
“Do you want to lock up the Bidens?” Stahl pressed. “No, I don’t want to lock them up, but they certainly should be looked at,” Trump responded, likely referring to the story broken October 14 by The New York Post, followed by Breitbart and others, that based on emails found on a laptop which had belonged to Joe Biden’s son Hunter, the Biden family was heavily-involved in taking large amounts of money from the Chinese Communist Party as well as entities in Ukraine, Russia and perhaps other countries while Joe served as Obama’s vice president.
“Obama? Do you want to lock up Obama?” Stahl continued.
“No, I don’t want to lock him up, but he spied on my campaign. Obama and Biden spied on my campaign…Do you know how horrible it is what they did?” Trump said, to which Stahl responded, “But it’s never been verified.”
“It’s been totally verified, Lesley,” Trump rejoined.
He told Stahl he “doesn’t like to get involved” with investigations led by Attorney General William Barr, terming him “a gentleman” and “very lucky” without elaborating.
Trump then accused “60 Minutes” and CBS at large for asking Biden only “softball questions” in an interview in which Stahl said she did not participate but which will air on Sunday, along with Trump’s interview with Stahl.
Contrary to some reporting, Trump did not “walk out” on the interview with Stahl, but rather, after approximately 37 minutes and a five-minute warning from an off-camera assistant, “I think we have enough of an interview now; let’s go,” indicating that Pence would shortly commence his session.
CBS said Trump “cut short” the interview, which a member of the Trump campaign disputed.
Once Pence responded to Stahl’s first question, she said that he and Trump were “not going to answer our questions.”
“I’m here to answer your questions,” Pence replied.
Stahl continued to express frustration that her time with both office-holders did not answer her questions and that they “insulted ’60 Minutes.'” “I’m upset,” she said at the end of the 14-minute session with Pence. “You gave a speech.”
In response, Pence said, “You asked me not one question about foreign policy at all…” to which Stahl said, “I’d love to; may I?” as an assistant for the second time told her the allocated time frame was expiring.
“You haven’t asked me one question about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris refusing to say whether or not they would pack the Supreme Court of the United States, and I think this is (13:21) why the American people are frustrated with the media — that the issues that are most important to the American people, which are the security and the well-being of the American people and the foundations on which this country stands, are really on the ballot this year. The president and I, whether you like it or not, whether it’s in the ’60 Minutes’ narrative, the president and I continue to take that case every day to the American people, and I think we’re going to have a great victory on November third.”
The interview was then cued as concluded, and Pence said, “Thank you, Lesley.”
Also according to Wikipedia, Stahl is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has reported extensively on “climate change.” As for her time at CBS, the same source reports:
Stahl was the moderator of Face the Nation between September 1983 and May 1991. In addition, she hosted 48 Hours Investigates from 2002 to 2004. In 2002, Stahl made headlines when Al Gore appeared on 60 Minutes and revealed for the first time that he would not run for president again in 2004. When Katie Couric was hired, CBS News asked Stahl to reduce her salary by $500,000 to accommodate Couric’s salary, bringing her salary down to $1.8 million. In October 2007 Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, stood up and walked away from an interview with Stahl because she asked him about his relationship with his soon-to-be estranged wife, Cécilia.
When posting the videos, the president described her approach as containing “bias, hatred and rudeness.”
In response to their dissemination before Sunday, the network said the White House “violated an agreement with CBS News.” In a statement, it wrote:
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.