Several of Donald Trump’s closest allies sat for interviews during his final weeks in office with a British filmmaker after being assured they had editorial input about the final product, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Multiple people were told it 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 nervous in the former President’s orbit, they told CNN, mainly because several don’t recall the full extent of their comments.
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.
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. Others, including Jared Kushner and then Vice President Mike Pence, also sat down for interviews. Donald Trump Jr sat down for an hour with Holder about three weeks before the election, another source said. They attempted to interview Donald Trump Jr. again but ultimately never did.
A lawyer representing filmmaker 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.
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 of 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.