(Politico: Cristiano Lima) — Larry King on Friday rebutted the Donald Trump campaign’s assertion that the Republican candidate didn’t know he had agreed to speak on Russian state television when King interviewed him.
After a widely criticized Thursday evening interview where Trump downplayed allegations of Russian interference in American elections, a campaign spokesperson denied the Republican nominee knew the interview would be broadcast on RT (Russia Today). The representative said Trump was under the impression the interview would be conducted on King’s weekly podcast.
On Friday King told CNN’s Erin Burnett that while he did not participate in the scheduling process himself, he dismissed the notion that Trump would not know what he had agreed to when speaking to his show producers, pointing to the fact that the real estate mogul had just recently appeared on his podcast.
“If Donald said he thought it was a podcast that stretches it a little because he just did my podcast,” King said. “I did not make the arrangements for him to be on the show. My producers talked to his people, and they made the arrangements. So I never know what was said to him except he was doing my TV show.”
The interview was another self-created controversy for Trump, whose praise of Russian leader Vladimir Putin has become a widely trailed issue in the presidential and primary elections.
King also discussed Trump’s abrupt departure from the interview, which concluded prematurely when the candidate’s call seemingly dropped.
“We were doing an interview and it was supposed to be for ten minutes and right at the end of ten minutes I stopped,” he said. “I never got to say good-bye. I don’t know why I stopped so abruptly.”
King said Trump had apologized for the departure and was planning to schedule another interview.
“They said that a girl came in and for some reason told Donald he had something else to do and he had to leave,” he said. “It just was strange and not only did they apologize, but they were planning to reschedule another appearance next week.”
The former longtime CNN veteran also dismissed accusations of political influence by the Russian government on his show, “Politicking.”