President Donald Trump has reportedly threatened a Time magazine photographer with jail time after the journalist tried to snap a photo of his hand-written letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a transcript of the testy interview released by Time alleges.
"Excuse me – under Section II – Well, you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you…" Trump reportedly said, while commenting on the legal case against former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
"I didn't give it to you to take photographs of it. So don't play that game with me," Trump added, according to the transcript.
Asked by the photographer if he was threatening him with prison time, the president reportedly responded that he had shown the letter off the record, and it was not something to be photographed, and it turned into a story about him threatening a reporter.
"I hope you don't have a picture of it…You can't do that stuff. So go have fun with your story. Because I'm sure it will be the 28th horrible story I have in Time magazine because I never – I mean – ha! It's incredible. With all I've done and the success I've had, the way that Time magazine writes is absolutely incredible," he was quoted as saying.
The letter incident began during a discussion of Trump's upcoming 2020 reelection campaign, with the president showing the Time reporters a hand-written letter from Kim he said was "pretty good" and then asked to have it back.
The president is known to have a testy relationship with the US' Democratic-leaning media. Earlier this week, he demanded that the New York Times disclose the sources who claimed that the US was carrying out hacking attacks against Russia's power grid, calling the story "Fake News" and saying that the paper must be "held fully accountable" over these "treasonous" claims.
The president previously called NYT an "enemy of the people," and has repeatedly attacked CNN, kicking CNN reporter Jim Acosta out of the White House press corps before being forced to 'temporarily' reinstate him late last year. Earlier this month, Trump said that while he recognised that it was not very "Presidential" of him to "hit back at the Corrupt Media," he had to do it, because "if you don't hit back, people believe the Fake News is true."
The Time interview was conducted on 17 June, and will appear as the cover story in the 1 July edition of the magazine. Trump is yet to comment on the veracity of the transcript.