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White House releases raw footage of Trump's '60 Minutes' interview

(Reuters) - The White House on Thursday released raw footage from an interview that U.S. President Donald Trump did with “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, breaking an agreement to keep material from the highly-anticipated clash 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.

CBS News, a division of ViacomCBS Inc and the network that airs “60 Minutes,” blasted Trump’s “unprecedented decision” to disregard an agreement to keep the footage private, but said the move would not defer the show “from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades.”

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.”

(The story corrects to add dropped word from lede)

Reporting by Ernest Scheyder, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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