Monday June 27, 2022

Donald Trump had a mysterious phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin just nine days before the 2020 election, a documentary filmmaker with unprecedented access during the final months of the Trump administration has revealed.

During a trip on Air Force One on Sunday 25 October 2020, filmmaker Alex Holder, a January 6 committee witness, was told by Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that a previously scheduled interview with the then-president wouldn’t be able to go ahead.

“My memory is that the chief of staff sort of came over and said that the interview couldn’t happen today because the president was on the phone. And I believe, if I remember correctly, that he said that he was on the phone to the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, which is why the interview had to be postponed,” Mr Holder told Politico.

The UK filmmaker began working on the film about Mr Trump in September of that year. Via a connection to the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Mr Holder gained access to Mr Trump, then-Vice President Mike Pence, some of Mr Trump’s adult children – Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Eric Trump – as well as other close associates of Mr Trump’s.

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Before the end of the Trump administration, Mr Holder interviewed Mr Trump and Mr Pence at the White House and accompanied the president on trips on Air Force One. After Mr Trump left office, he continued to speak to him at his golf clubs in Bedminster, New Jersey, and at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

Only a small number of Mr Trump’s close allies were aware that the documentary film project was taking place.

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Politico reported earlier in the week that Mr Holder had been subpoenaed by the January 6 committee. He handed over all of his footage and arrived in Washington, DC this week to appear in front of the panel for a deposition behind closed doors.

Politico reported on Friday that Mr Holder had private security with him when he appeared for an interview.

“On Monday, I didn’t exist, and had 115 Twitter followers. And today, I think I have close to 20,000,” he said.

“I just got a text from [CNN host] Don Lemon,” he said in surprise during the interview.

He received a message from a London friend saying “You got papped!” – he was photographed by paparazzi’s while he was on Capitol Hill.

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