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CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl denied the Obama administration spied on the 2016 Trump campaign and discounted the corruption scandal surrounding Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his family while interviewing President Donald Trump for a “60 Minutes” segment broadcast Sunday.
At one point during the interview, the president said that his Democratic rival is not subjected to the same tough questioning from the establishment media as he is.
“I wish you would interview Joe Biden like you interview me,” he told Stahl. “It would be so good.”
“You like this, I thought. I thought you like sparring,” Stahl responded.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 26, 2020
“I don’t mind it,” Trump said.
“When I watch him walk out of a store, and he’s walking with an ice cream, and the question the media ask him, ‘What kind of ice cream, what flavor ice cream do you have?’” Trump added as Stahl chuckled.
“And he’s in the midst of a scandal…” the president continued.
“He’s not,” Stahl interjected, smiling. “He’s not. Come on.”
“Of course, he is Lesley,” Trump responded, in reference to several allegations of corruption involving the vice president, his son Hunter Biden, and his brother James Biden first reported by the New York Post last week.
Emails discovered on the hard drive of a laptop Hunter Biden abandoned at a computer repair shop in Delaware last year — a copy of which was provided to the Post — implicate the former vice president in pay-for-play schemes involving private and state-connected firms in Ukraine and China.
In addition, the recovered materials include a text message from Hunter Biden to his daughter Naomi suggesting he kicked back as much as 50 percent of all monies he received to his father.
Some of the most damning allegations including those implicating the former vice president have since been corroborated by a witness, Tony Bobulinski, a one-time business partner of the Bidens.
Bobulinski also said during a press conference Thursday that the Bidens “aggressively leveraged” their family name in order to secure lucrative business deals, including with Chinese state-owned entities.
But media outlets have refused to interview Bobulinski or report any further on the allegations contained in the Post’s original reports, falsely claiming they can’t be corroborated.
In his interview with Stahl, the president called the situation with Biden “the second biggest scandal.”
“The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign. They spied on my campaign, Leslie,” Trump said.
“There’s no real evidence of that,” Stahl responded.
“Of course, there is, it’s all over the place. Leslie…” Trump said. “They spied on my campaign and they got caught.”
Stahl then attempted to portray the long-running CBS newsmagazine as a final arbiter of truth.
“Can I just say something? You know, this is ’60 Minutes,’ and we can’t put on things we can’t verify,” she said.
“You won’t put it on because it’s bad for Biden,” the president said.
“We can’t put on things we can’t verify,” Stahl insisted.
“Leslie, they spied on my campaign,” Trump said.
“Well, we can’t verify that,” said Stahl.
“It’s been totally verified,” Trump answered.
“They spied on my campaign and they got caught. And then they went much further than that and they got caught,” the president said. “And you will see that, Leslie. And you know that, but you just don’t want to put it on the air.”
“No,” Stahl said.
Stahl was panned by former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell as “the Dan Rather of 2020,” a reference to the former CBS News anchor who, during a “60 Minutes II” segment in September 2004 made false claims about then-President George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service using unverified documents.
Lesley Stahl is the Dan Rather of 2020. https://t.co/AXF3K7cM4f
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) October 26, 2020
The documents insinuated that Bush got special favors from the National Guard to avoid service in Vietnam. The source of the documents ultimately admitted they were forged; CBS News and Rather were faulted for failing to corroborate them independently.
That said, there is clear evidence the 2016 Trump campaigned was “spied” on.
In a story that the outlet has since tried to walk back, The New York Times reported January 20, 2017 — the day of the president’s inauguration — that the FBI, during the Obama administration, was examining “wiretapped data” subsequent reports in other outlets would reveal were part of FISA court warrants aimed at Carter Page, an adviser to the president’s 2016 campaign.
In its online version of the story, the Times changed its headline, taking out the words “wiretapped data.”
Declassified documents and a Justice Department inspector general investigation have proven the Obama administration and the FBI and DoJ under Trump renewed the electronic surveillance warrants against Page at least three times after the initial warrant was obtained in the months before the 2016 election.
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