News World US Donald Trump walks out of interview before threatening to post it early
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Donald Trump walks out of interview before threatening to post it early

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US President Donald Trump has threatened to release an interview he just conducted with a 60 Minutes reporter, in a series of bizarre tweets.

Mr Trump abruptly ended the interview with reporter Lesley Stahl, before posting a covertly recorded video of her in the White House not wearing a mask.

Mr Trump reportedly cut short the interview and refused to return for a planned second sitting alongside Vice-President Mike Pence.

He took to social media to ask voters to compare his treatment with that of his presidential rival, Democrat candidate Joe Biden.

Speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania, Mr Trump told supporters they “have to watch what we do to 60 Minutes, you’ll get such a kick out of it”.

“Lesley Stahl is not going to be happy,” he added.

It is understood Ms Stahl had worn a mask at the White House up until the start of her taping with Mr Trump, including when she first greeted him.

The video posted on Mr Trump’s feed shows Ms Stahl immediately after the interview ended, as she consulted with two of her CBS producers, both of whom were wearing masks.

60 Minutes plans to broadcast the interview on Sunday night (local time) in a special that will also feature Mr Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.

Mr Biden taped his interview with the CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell on Monday.

He has refrained from tweeting about it to date.

‘Rounding the turn’

Speaking at his Pennsylvania rally, Mr Trump claimed the coronavirus pandemic is almost over, a statement at odds with the state’s surging case load.

Pennsylvania has averaged nearly 1,500 new cases a day over the past seven days, its highest weekly average since mid-April.

“We’re rounding the turn on the pandemic,” Mr Trump said as he rallied cheering supporters in one of the most hotly contested and symbolically weighted parts of Pennsylvania.

It is a well-worn phrase. Mr Trump made the same claim last month in Nevada and has been making variations on the claim since as early as May.

The virus has killed more than 220,000 people in the US to date.

The rally took place amid news that Mr Trump’s re-election coffers shrank in September as he fell behind Mr Biden in the campaign money race, putting him at a disadvantage in the final weeks before November 3.

In a financial disclosure filed on Tuesday night with the Federal Election Commission, the Trump campaign said it had about $US63 million ($A89 million) in the bank at the end of September after spending about $US139 million that month.

A month earlier, the campaign reported having $US121 million in cash.

Mr Biden’s campaign has yet to report its cash holdings at the close of September.

However the former vice-president’s campaign said this month that together with the Democratic Party, it had $US432 million in the bank.

Mr Trump and his Republican Party had just $US251 million, his campaign manager said this month.

Mr Trump finished off the rally in Pennsylvania with some impromptu dancing, to the strains of The Village People’s YMCA.

First lady Melania Trump was forced to sit out the rally in the key state due to a lingering cough.

The latest polls show Mr Trump trailing Mr Biden as the pandemic continues to hurt the incumbent’s prospects of re-election on November 3.

Millions of Americans have already cast early ballots.