Several of Donald Trump’s closest allies, pictured here, on May 28, in Casper, Wyoming sat for interviews during his final weeks in office with a British filmmaker after being assured they had editorial input over the final product, according to two people familiar with the situation. (Chet Strange/Getty Images)
By Kaitlan Collins, CNN
(CNN) — Several of Donald Trump’s closest allies sat for interviews with a British filmmaker during his final weeks as president after being assured they had editorial input over the final product, according to two people familiar with the situation, a claim the filmmaker’s team has denied.
Multiple people said they had been told the documentary was focused on Trump’s legacy and would be a flattering portrayal.
But 17 months later, that filmmaker, Alex Holder, has been subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill insurrection, and turned over hours of his footage. That has made some in the former President’s orbit nervous, they told CNN, mainly because several don’t recall the full extent of their comments.
An attorney for Holder denies that the Trumps were granted editorial control over the final product.
“The Trumps did not request, and were not granted, any editorial control over the series. To the contrary, Alex Holder said at the outset that he would have full editorial control. The Trumps also did not request any contractual right of control, or even review, so there is none,” Russell Smith said in a statement provided to CNN.
Holder’s “Unprecedented” three-part docuseries about the 2020 election will be released on Discovery Plus, which is owned by CNN’s parent company, later this summer. The documentary includes never-before-seen footage of the Trump family on the campaign trail and their reactions to the outcome of the election.
The then-President’s children sat for multiple interviews with the British filmmaker, who was there in the final weeks of Trump’s time in office. Ivanka Trump did three interviews, her husband, Jared Kushner, was interviewed twice and Eric Trump was interviewed twice, Holder told CNN. Donald Trump Jr. was interviewed once for an hour, but an attempt at a second interview with him did not come to fruition.
Several of the interviews, including with Ivanka Trump, were conducted after Trump had lost the election but as he was still contesting it. Most of Ivanka Trump’s interview focused on her relationship with her father, in addition to a public comment about the ongoing legal challenges over the election. Trump Jr. sat down with Holder about three weeks before the election, another source said.
Now there is some concern among certain figures about what was said on camera given hours of footage have been turned over. One former aide downplayed the likelihood anything relevant to the committee was said.
A person familiar with the matter said the interviews were orchestrated by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East peace envoy who left the administration in 2019 but remained in close touch with top officials. Greenblatt has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
Holder sat for a deposition with the committee Thursday morning behind closed doors.
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