Donald Trump being interviewed by Lester Holt (NBC News)

Attorney Jay Sekulow alleges that NBC News edited Trump's 2017 interview on firing of James Comey

"I will just tell you, without disclosing any detail, that when you review the entire transcript, it is very clear"

Matthew Rozsa
September 20, 2018 4:18PM (UTC)

Jay Sekulow, one of President Donald Trump's attorneys, alleged to CNN's Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday that NBC had somehow doctored the footage of the interview last year in which his client admitted to firing former FBI Director James Comey over his pursuit of the Trump-Russia investigation.

“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it," Trump told Holt in May 2017. "And in 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.”


Sekulow notably offered no evidence to support his allegation against NBC News. "You know that, when there are interviews, there are edits, and there is a longer transcript," he told Cuomo Wednesday night. "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."

"And the evidence, when you look at the entire evidence, you don't see it," Sekulow continued. "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."

Sekulow also told Cuomo that the Trump legal team had raised these concerns with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.


"And I'm not going to give you information on how we provided it," Sekulow told Cuomo. "But in our professional discussions with the office of special counsel, we have addressed that on multiple occasions appropriately."

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Trump is repeating a claim that he has been making since August, when he tweeted: "What’s going on at CNN is happening, to different degrees, at other networks - with NBC News 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!"


At the time that Trump sent this tweet, Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz came to NBC's defense.

"You showed part of it earlier with John Roberts. This was an interview last year  two days after the president fired Jim Comey at the FBI," Kurtz said. "And he gave an explanation — and set off a firestorm — saying it was, in his mind, related to the Russia investigation. There is no credible allegation that NBC, or Andy Lack or Lester Holt edited the interview in a misleading way at the time.


"And by the way, NBC posted the whole thing online, so people can look at it," he added.

Mike Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe", also denounced Trump's tweet as "importantly stupid," adding that "not only is he attacking NBC’s chairman Andy Lack, our boss, with stupid rumors, but also he’s going after the truth."

"Attacking NBC News, saying that Lester Holt got caught fudging the interview," Brzezinski went on to explain. "He's trying to shape the truth around the reality that he wants people to believe. And yes, I get it. This is a leading question, but: How dangerous is this?"


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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump James Comey Jay Sekulow Lester Holt Trump Russia Scandal

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