Trump sits down for his first '60 Minutes' interview as POTUS

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business
Updated 12:30 AM ET, Fri October 12, 2018

Trump on "60"

President Trump has turned down all "60 Minutes" interview requests... until now. The president taped an interview with Lesley Stahl on Thursday, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. The sit-down will air this Sunday.

Per one of the sources, crews were seen on Thursday taking gear into the White House, where aides were buzzing about the interview.

A CBS News spokesperson declined to comment. "60" types usually stay tight-lipped about pieces until they're officially announced, and so far only one piece has been announced for this Sunday, a Bill Whitaker profile of a famed nature photographer. This suggests the Trump interview will be a two-parter...
-- CONTEXT: "60" is the most-watched news program in the country, so it's a high-profile platform for POTUS. His last interview on the newsmag was with Stahl, shortly after winning the presidency, well before inauguration day...

Trump has phoned into Fox three times since Saturday

One thing is for sure: Trump has been very chatty lately. When he's not hosting rallies, he's holding press conferences, informal Q&A's, gaggles on Air Force One, etc. And he's been giving interviews too -- mostly to Fox News. He also spoke with the Washington Examiner's Salena Zito this week. And he has "60 Minutes" in the can.

His first Fox phoner this month was on Jeanine Pirro's show last Saturday. Then he called into Shannon Bream's newscast on Wednesday night. When he woke up on Thursday morning, he called in again, this time to "Fox & Friends." The chat went on for 46 minutes. "Go run the country," Steve Doocy said as he attempted to wrap it up.

-- WHAT'S GOING ON: It's pretty simple. "He goes where the praise is," a Trump confidant told me, referring to Fox talk shows like "Hannity" and "Judge Jeanine..."

What about the rallies?

In the past few days, much has been made of Fox's choice not to carry all of Trump's rallies wall to wall anymore. Why the change? Well I think it's pretty obvious: The frequency is the issue. Trump has gone from a rally every week or two, earlier this year, to three or four rallies a week due to the impending midterm. Yes, a Fox News source acknowledged, Trump may feel like he's being snubbed. But Fox is a business first and foremost, and the producers are making logical programming decisions.

After Trump's two phoners on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, a source quipped that "he had to do two interviews to make up for the rally..."

Food for thought

Col. Morris Davis, a military vet and former chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay who's now a staunch Trump critic, tweeted the other day, "In Russia, Putin controls the state TV network. In America, the state TV network controls Trump⁩."

Letting Trump be Trump

Politico's Annie Karni is out with a new story about Trump's media blitz, saying it's "driven by the president's natural impulses." She observes that Trump "does not appear to be tying his interviews and media appearances to any policy he is trying to sell -- rather, the press and the spotlight appear to be the ends in and of themselves..."


-- Coming Friday night: ABC's prime time special featuring Tom Llamas's interview with Melania Trump... (ABC)
-- Trump "signed the Music Modernization Act on Thursday at a White House ceremony... The bipartisan act addresses music licensing and royalty legislation, among other issues related to music rights..." (Variety)
-- Joanna Coles is joining CBS News in a part-time capacity as "creative adviser." Initially, "Joanna will be engaged with the 'CBS This Morning' team and will weigh in on other strategic opportunities," David Rhodes says... (THR)

Michael's aftermath

At the time I'm typing this, the death toll stands at 6, but authorities fear it will climb. Here's CNN's latest overview story...

Getting to Mexico Beach by chopper and by boat and by foot...

"Devastation in Hurricane Michael's wake was so severe that it made images of some of the hardest-hit areas in Florida trickle out Thursday as slowly as if from a distant, third-world nation," the AP's David Bauder writes. "Broadcast news organizations faced a challenge in getting reporters to Mexico Beach, 40 miles east of the more populated Panama City, where wind and storm surge left behind a moonscape of damage."
"By arranging a helicopter ride, CNN's Brooke Baldwin broke through," Bauder writes.

Baldwin's live aerial pictures from Mexico Beach, Florida, were astonishing. "Shortly before noon, Baldwin landed to deliver reports... With cell phone towers blown down, CNN had to use a satellite transmitter to get pictures out. It made for some blotchy pictures and malfunctions, and at one point she said she had to stand in one place to make sure the signal wasn't lost. CNN was also trying to get a reporter to Mexico Beach by boat. Another CNN reporter,Brian Todd, made it in by ground by Thursday afternoon..."

Hiking out of town

ABC's Ginger Zee was one of a handful of journalists who rode out the storm in Mexico Beach on Wednesday. From a (relatively) safe condo building, she watched a home across the street get washed off its foundation by the storm surge. Incredibly, the home owner recognized the building and reached out to ABC on Thursday.
Read more of Thursday's Reliable Sources newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

After landfall, Zee was barely able to transmit anything... ABC couldn't get a live signal working in time for Thursday's "GMA..." But George Stephanopoulosreassured viewers that she was okay.
Zee and her crew set out on foot Thursday morning, and hiked out of town until another ABC crew could pick them up... She appeared with Davd Muir on "WNT..."