One of President Donald Trump’s lawyers is claiming that NBC News altered an interview with his client, shortly after he fired former FBI director James Comey, to make it appear as though the president said something he didn’t.
Jay Sekulow explained that the president’s words were selectively edited when he gave an interview to NBC‘s Lester Holt in May of 2017, according to reporting from CNN.
In that interview, Trump suggested he had the Russia investigation on his mind when he made the decision to fire Comey — a notion that could put him into legal hot water, possibly demonstrating the president attempted to sway or influence the investigation itself, reports ThinkProgress. Trump’s statement to Holt also contradicted the official reason his administration gave for Comey’s ouster, which was purportedly for mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails during her time as secretary of state.
The controversial line that Sekulow disputed on Wednesday evening entailed Trump trying to explain to Holt in their interview that aired more than a year ago what was going on in his head when he terminated Comey. “[I]n fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” Trump said.
Sekulow suggested that the interview, including that line from Trump, was edited by the news agency.
“You know that when there are interviews, there are edits and there is a longer transcript, and I will just tell you without disclosing any detail that when you review the entire transcript, it is very clear as to what happened,” Sekulow stated.
“And the evidence, when you look at the entire evidence, you don’t see it. I’m not faulting anybody running a clip… but to turn it literally into a federal case we don’t think is right, we don’t think it’s constitutional and we think the entire transcript — without question — supports the President.”
It’s unclear, however, what Sekulow is referring to. NBC has released the full, unedited interview with the president, and it doesn’t appear as though Trump’s words were edited or otherwise altered the way that Sekulow said they were.
Trump’s lawyer isn’t the first to allege, without presenting evidence, that NBC edited the 2017 interview with Holt. The president himself said as much last month, tweeting out not only claims that the network edited the tape, but that they had been “caught” doing so, as though it had already been definitively proven.
What’s going on at @CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks - with @NBCNews being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence, and much worse. When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia, they were hurt badly!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2018