Transcript: Alex Holder on “Face the Nation,” July 10, 2022


The following is the transcript of an interview with filmmaker Alex Holder that aired Sunday, July 10, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”

ROBERT COSTA: During the final weeks of the Trump presidency, including the day the Capitol was attacked, British filmmaker Alex Holder had behind the scenes access to former President Trump and his inner circle as part of a documentary project. The footage his team gathered was subpoenaed by the committee probing the attack. And investigators have interviewed Holder as they seek to piece together what happened. Alex Holder’s three part documentary series, Unprecedented, premieres today on Discovery+, and he is here with us this morning. Good morning, Alex.

ALEX HOLDER: Morning. 

ROBERT COSTA: Your documentary, which I’ve watched, has powerful footage of the brutal violence on January 6. Your documentary also focuses on the Trump family in an intense way. Do they feel any culpability for what happened? 

HOLDER: I mean, in my in my interactions with them, no, not at all. I mean, I think President Trump when I interviewed him in Mar a Lago, he doubled down on the position. In fact, he even says that the reason why the protesters went into the Capitol on January 6 was because they had believed that the election was stolen, or who told them that the election was stolen, other than him. And then with respect to his children, they declined to discuss the subject of January 6. So I think that their silence will be for others to determine what that really means. 

ROBERT COSTA: You and your crew captured this amazing moment in January 2021 with Vice President Pence, as he has to confront a decision on something most vice presidents never have to make a decision about whether to invoke the 25th amendment. Let’s take a look at that moment.

SOT ON TAPE: Pelosi: I joined the Senate Democratic leader and calling on the Vice President to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment.(break) If the vice president or cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.

Pence: 7:48? Staff: That’s what I received. But the House members got it a while back.

Pence: Yeah, excellent.

Pence: Tell Zack premiere of a hardcopy for the trip home. I’m always hopeful about America.

Always believe that America’s best days are yet to come. And I still believe that.”

ROBERT COSTA: What did you witness behind the scenes that day that you may have shared with the January 6 committee that we didn’t see. 

ALEX HOLDER: I mean, that day was pretty extraordinary. This is about six days or so after the events of January the sixth, we’re now in the White House in the OEOB so this is the ceremonial room for the vice president. And we saw things in the corridors at desks that was sort of known upended and chairs outside because they were obviously moving out for the new administration. And there was a sort of really dour, quite sort of depressed mood in the building at that time. And some of the aides around the vice president as well, we’re also not talking quietly whispering things were just it was a very uncomfortable situation. And then the Vice President walks in, he sits down, and this is, I mean, on that day, he was probably the most famous man in the world. Because this was all about the 25th amendment and whether or not he was actually going to invoke this this procedure. So it was an extraordinary day. And he sits down the chair and his aide hands on every phone and myself, and also our Director of Photography saw that it was from the Speaker’s office. And we captured this extraordinary moment, and also the aftermath of it as well. So it was we were walking in history all the way through this entire process of making this this documentary, and I hope people will tune in and watch it and see these incredible moments unfold. 

ROBERT COSTA: You were walking through history. You were with the Trump family again and again, and you cast them as a family that’s also a brand, and it’s a brand that cannot accept defeat. Do you believe the former president will run again? 

ALEX HOLDER: Oh, I don’t know whether or not I heard when I get I mean, I, you’ve been up close with him. I mean, I think, you know, he tends to not do the same thing twice when he fails. And I think the reason for that, and this is what the series shows, is it’s all about the brand. It’s all about the word Trump and the association of the word Trump to failure is something that he can’t accept that his kids can’t accept. So the idea that it may happen again, that he might fail again, is something that would be something that he could not accept. So maybe he might take the risk. Maybe he won’t take the risk. We’ll see. I mean, he says, we’ll see.

ROBERT COSTA: You spoke to former President Trump about democracy. What did that conversation reveal to you? 

ALEX HOLDER: I don’t think he really understands what that really means. I mean, when I was sitting in front of him, you know, in the White House, on, you know, sort of four or five days after his own Attorney General has said, there’s no evidence to support his claims of election malfeasance. And he’s given me all these different reasons as to why there actually is election issues and how we need to intervene. And we need to sort of get brave and courageous judges. I mean, this isn’t a man who really sort of fully understands what it means to be what democracy actually really means. 

ROBERT COSTA: You’ve probably spent more time with Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump than almost anyone else outside of that family. Do you believe they are angling to continue the Trump brand politically and run for office? If not in 2024? At some point in the future? You know them.  

ALEX HOLDER: I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do. I mean, Don Jr. Certainly came across, at least in my interactions with him. And I think in the series, people will see that he does have an interest in politics for sure. And he goes into sort of the background of where his political awakening comes from, which is pretty interesting. I think, Eric, maybe not as much and Ivanka will see as well, but I think that there. But ultimately with these with this family, and what the series shows is this sort of dynamic, the sort of succession vibe, the dynamic between the three children and the relationship they have with their father and vice versa.

ROBERT COSTA: Alex Holder, thank you so much for coming by. We appreciate it. 

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