Audio captures Trump demanding NBC reporter be kicked off plane for asking about hush money probe

·2-min read

Former President Donald Trump grew angry with a correspondent for NBC News this spring and ordered that they be kicked off his plane for asking about his ongoing hush money probe.

The incident reportedly occurred on 25 March, according to Vanity Fair, and resulted from repeated questions from NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard about the case that was at that time nearing an official indictment. The ex-president would go on to be charged with 32 criminal counts of falsifying business records to hide a hush money scheme.

According to audio obtained by Vanity Fair, Hillyard questioned Mr Trump during a gaggle aboard “Trump Force One” as it sat on the ground in Waco, Texas, following the president’s rally there on 25 March. After suggestions that he was growing frustrated or anxious about the probe, Mr Trump grew visibly incensed and ordered Hillyard to stop asking questions.

“We did nothing wrong...This is fake news, and NBC is one of the worst. Don’t ask me any more questions,” Mr Trump said.

But Hillyard returned to the questions about 10 minutes later into the informal gaggle, according to Vanity Fair, which drew the ex-president’s anger. According to the audio, the president tossed two phones sitting on a table recording the gaggle onto a nearby seat or other object, causing an audible thud.

“I don’t want to talk to you...Do you hear me? You’re not a nice guy,” said Mr Trump. When Hillyard again persisted in his line of questioning, the president then barked: “Alright, let’s go, get him out of here...Outta here. Outta here.”

It isn’t clear if Hillyard was actually removed from the plane, or simply prevented from asking further questions. The Independent has contacted NBC News for a statement.

Hillyard has been a correspondent with NBC News for nearly two years and has been with the network in a broader scope of roles for almost a decade. He’s hardly the first reporter to clash with the president, who is now the first occupant of the Oval Office to face criminal charges and remains at the centre of numerous other legal battles as well.

CNN’s Jim Acosta was famously referred to as “fake news” by the president and prevented from asking questions during a press briefing in early 2017, days before his inauguration.