ABC News Exclusive: Mary Trump Interview with Stephanopoulos

Mary Trump speaks exclusively to ABC News about President Trump for the first time since the publication of her explosive new book.
58:13 | 07/16/20

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Transcript for ABC News Exclusive: Mary Trump Interview with Stephanopoulos
Hello and welcome to ABC news Lyle clearing for the first time. From president trumps niece Mary trump since the publication cover explosive to new memoir too much and never enough. And I sat down and spoke of their in this exclusive interview about her uncle her belief that he is quote utterly incapable of leading this country. And why it's dangerous in her view tool and to do so. Here's my conversation Mary trump you'll only see this extended cut of the interview right here on ABC news lives. Thank you for doing this thank you for having me. It too much is never enough to explain way chose to tackle. In thinking about my Sam lane. Us. It applies because. People associate money with them understandably and for my grandfather in particular. There was no such thing as having enough money. So I was thinking about what that meant in. I'll add in also thinking about the psychology. Behind. Him and his children. I was very. Curious about the foundational. Issues. That Donald anoint his siblings who live through. And I realized. When really carefully. Examining the kind of childhoods they had particularly Donald and my father. There was this very real sense for Donald when he was quite young. That there just wasn't. Enough. Love. Attention and support. And for my father who's quite a bit older. There was too much attention you know he was the heir apparent. My grandfather focused on him was an extraordinarily hard on him. So. Because there was such an armed. Degree of difference in terms of what the children received again particularly the two Brothers. For Donald. There could never be enough to compensate. For legal. The loss. What he experience as a child. And for my father. There was always too much of the wrong thing. And that impacted everybody in the family all begins here grandfather oh absolutely absolutely. Sees a sociopath. Yes we need that. He had no empathy he was incredibly driven in a way. That turned other people including his children his wife. Into. Ponds. To be used his own ends. If somebody could be of service to him. Then. He would use them. If they couldn't be he excise. And in my father's case tragically. I he was not a case he was the wrong kind of person he was the wrong person he was the wrong song. And my dad never recovered from them. And lying grandfather essentially. Needed to get written. You see your grandfather destroyed both your father because he's he wasn't the person. Your grandfather wanted him to be done. Donald Trump this Prez United States. Did you say the grandfather destroyed him as well. Does. He went about it differently. Because unfortunately for Donald's but he could be of use. So my grandfather. It wasn't as simple as of course Donald had many years of watching my father would be the wrong one. Behaving differently. Not being not being accepted for who he was. And it's impossible to know. Who Donald mind has been hit under different circumstances and with different parents. But clearly he learn the lesson. From watching his almost eight year old brother. Be punished. For being kind for being generous for being sensitive for having interests outside. Of what. My grandfather. Thought was acceptable. You know he loved to hang it was his friends he loves to boat and fish. And fly. He and by the time he graduated from college she had he is private and his professional pilot's license he wasn't a killer he was not a killer and shock English the path is a bad thing. And Donald learn that lesson. And he essentially had to sacrifice. Whatever goodness there may have been and then once what ever. Capacities. For are experiencing the full range of human emotion. To my grandfather. And on the surface of things yes he's been successful. However you want to define that term I mean certainly in material terms and in terms of his current position. But at what cost. And I would suggest it was at the cost of hip and sadly now. All of us who he learned to become first had. He learned to become the killer you mentioned. The man who. Needs to succeed at all costs. Who recognizes. That other people. Are expendable. Who does not need to take responsibility. Who. Will. Do anything. To get attention. Financial rewards. And to win. You rightly knows deep down that he is nothing nobody claims to be he knows he's never been two. Children love and. I don't know if that's true. I don't know my cousins very well are much younger than I am. And I guess. It also depends on what that means what is need you to meet. Love means. Being connected to another human being in a very deep way. And being able to share things of them in trusts them. In terms of parent for child it means sacrificing. For them and accepting them no matter what and never putting them in a position. To live free do worksheet for you or take from you. And I don't know that most people my family understand that. You've painted picture. Of a family that is yeah. I guess he originally mimic this dysfunctional. How cell. From very early on. The kids were separate doesn't not physically but. Emotionally and psychologically they were never able really to count on each other in ways that mattered. They were. In competition. We each other for resources. That. Phelps. Over time. Scarce. Which is absurd. Don't figure out who figured out what his father wanted. Yes his mother not so much him. Now she was in some ways very much a creature of that generation. The the gender divide in my family was stark even for the forties and fifties. She and very little to do with the boy is. It was almost as if the boys were my grandfather's Purdue in the girls were hers. I think from quite early on. Donald just didn't. Expect. Much from her. He. Knew I think by the time he was sent to New York military academy. But she wasn't going to stand up for him and after that very. Tragic. Year when she was quite ill and inaccessible. When he was only two and a half. I don't think the rift was ever repair you describe her as being more lesser wits and would come before he sent military academy yet house. She didn't listen. He. Didn't. Respect her I I believe that because of that initial. Rift which wasn't her fault you know she was extraordinarily ill she was in and out of the hospital. For six to twelve months and after that. I don't believe that she was attended to properly. You know she. Her physical well being was then perhaps addressed but her psychological well being was knocked. And that for whatever reason she was not people to. Repair. What that absence have brought us so. I see grew older I think that she. Didn't know how to relates her. Couldn't trust her and the what I'm sure he experienced as. An ex communication. Two boarding school was probably the last straw. He described. I interviewed him a Mother's Day fierce accusation was a warm loving and generous person was his father who is the hard won him. You tell us were going to the White House in April of 2017. And noticing. What's on the desk behind yes president yes. Yeah it was pretty striking and to be honest I didn't notice of until. I saw the picture of my brother had taken of me while I was sitting by the resolute desk and there was my grandfather right over my shoulder. So I of course heard the conversation that Donald that was Marianne you know maybe you should get a picture of mom on your desk and his stating we somebody get me a picture of mom but it wasn't until I saw that image of my grandfather hovering in the background that I realized how striking it was. That my grandmother was known where to be seat and you're not even an afterthought really. Although of course a picture was gotten. And it's I believe it's still there are now. To relay your father is passed. Unfortunately I -- me do that through other people. By the time I was born. He was quite ill. Alcohol yes. Which. You know cause all other kinds of illnesses to. And because. My Shanle. For reasons. That are rather complicated and were very invested. In portraying my father. As. Loser. Somebody who didn't toe the party line and somebody who betrayed my grandfather by not going into the business. And be doing the entirely irresponsible thing of becoming a professional pilot for TWA at the dharma of the jet age. I. Much to my shame. Didn't. Understand what he had accomplished. I was often ashamed of him. Not realizing the that. He had no support. In the family. And was treated. As somebody who is damaged beyond repair. And wasn't worth. Investing in in any way emotionally or other. You rate Donald Fine the lead of my grandfather. They went the complicity silence and inaction of the siblings destroyed my father. Yeah that was hard to write. Much harder to witness. Partially because my dad's ashes dust which unfortunately it was in the sixties. Early the early sixties. Where is. Me not that it matters but he was an extraordinarily handsome man. By that he was also. Charming but in a deep way kind. Generous and fiercely loyal. And beloved. I've been in touch with his friend's ex who haven't seen him. Since college or even before the and they remember him. As the most wonderful human being they never meant they remembered the wonderful times they had together. You know he would. But that in his says none fly them to bin mini for the weekend to go officiating or out saudis to Montauk and it's extraordinary. To hear. Almost. Fifty years later. Sixty years later. What it when an indelible. Impression they made upon them and how fondly they still remember him. BC there was a harsh sentence to right and left out the next sentence. Richest. Let them so here come from I I can't let him destroy my country yes yeah hunt should remember that. That sounds. Pretty arrogant so let me explain what it mean. I feel. As a write in the book that there are so many parallels between. The circumstances. In which my family operated. Ended in which this country is now operating. Buyers saw firsthand. Why it focusing on the wrong things. Elevating the wrong people. Can do you know the collateral damage that can be created by eighty. Allowing somebody to to live their lives without a cap accountability. And it is. Striking to see that continuing. Now on a much grander scale. And at. What I was getting out there is that if I can do anything. Two. Change the narrative and to tell the truth. I need to do because. I don't believe. The American people had the entire truth four years ago. When entry to book four years ago. I thought. Long and hard about saying something back I had no in a book wasn't. In my head. At that time. And honestly. It took me wealth should take it seriously to take the election. His part in it seriously. So even if I had thought of writing but there would have been time. But I did think of seeking out. Knowing that it would has been quite risky to do. And then I realized. There literally was nothing I can say at the top nothing stock. You know he insulted a gold star family. A he. Called upon that people to Republican National Convention. To come up with a Second Amendment. Defense against Hillary Clinton. And then you know by the time the Access Hollywood tape rolled around I knew the defiance had anything. I would have been. Painted as a disgruntled dis inherited niece. Who just wanted her fifteen minutes which obviously is still being said about me now but. It wouldn't have. Made and that's exactly the way to says this is a book of falsehoods a year writing at a financial self interest basically. You're lying for money. It it does it makes perfect sense that they would say that. Projection is a powerful thing. But. If I had wanted. Money or revenge. I would of done this ten years ago when it was infinitely safer. And he was still a very public figure but. Neither one of those things interested me I was living my life I eighty. Was to be one's you know well beyond what it happened twenty years ago with my family. And it would have served no purpose other than getting revenge or may be making some money and what do you say to people who say. America knew exactly what they were doing. When they elected Donald Trump he's kind of an open book which don't they know. Yeah I'd I don't think that's all true because outside of New York. I don't think people really quite understood. There were the truth behind his business record and his financial failures which are legion and serial. Beyond that. Do wrist. It was such a complex. Election there was so much going on. That I don't think the choices were that people had to make were necessarily. Based on. The an honest appraisal. You know there were there was so much interference from so many different sources. And the other thing that I think it's really important. To realize. An and I certainly didn't realize before 2016. Was just how enables he would. Which may be I should've seen Cummings because one of the things you write about you say that basically was enabled. Institutionalize. Your word from his whole life when he mean by that. As I say there there's a through line from the house. To try to management which was my grandfather's company in Brooklyn to the Trump Organization. Which my grandfather helped Donald set up in Manhattan. To the White House and those are all. Situations and circumstances. In which Donald has always been protected and continues to be protected. From his inadequacies. From his incompetence. From his lack of knowledge from his. Phillips. And he's always had. Support. Of more powerful people. He's always had people protecting him from. His mistakes or from people who would try to halt in the count and he's always been amply financed. So. You know as I also rate how do we gauge this man's ability to function in the real world as he's never really have to. And that to me is quite terrifying you're trained clinical psychologist yes you come to conclusion he's in narcissistic. Yeah I. I avoid I exclusively avoided diagnosing him I was gonna ask that they have any qualms as a psychologist. Laying out. The possible things that he could be suffering from. Now why I think it's I think it's useful especially since so many other people have Donnan and I thought it was important. To address that. Since it has been such an important. Issue. Especially given the Goldwater rule verses the duty to warn that that psychologists and psychiatrists have been grappling with. So I wanted to address all of without explicitly saying this is his diagnosis he is not my vision he's ever been my patient. I do however. Have access to information about him that nobody else has had. So. It was a lot easier for me to put the diagnoses that are out there. In context of his developmental history boil it down what's the single most important thing you think the country needs now about your uncle. He is utterly incapable. Of leading this country. And it's. Dangerous to allow him to do some. Based in which you see now from which he sought and based on what I've seen. My entire adult life to talk with the real issue between. Your father. And he's younger brother. My dad was. Mary. Patient. With Donald's. His many years older about 27 have eight now so it's a very big. You know there were aired practically different generations they didn't have the same did in trouble in the same circles. My dad when they were younger. Included him when he could. You know especially when Donald was sort of at loose ends. When he was at Fordham in living at the house and didn't have a lot of friends and Doug but didn't. Ask his friends to invite him to dinner parties or take him out on the boat with his fraternity Brothers for saying. McDonald was and was much younger. But I don't believe that they they weren't close and I think as soon as. It became clear. My father was not going to be. Able to continue are trying to management. And this would have been in the early sixties. I think Donald's on opening. And I want to make something clear this is very important to me it's not that my dad wasn't good that it. Or had no interest in. Six eating my grandfather and his company he had every intention. Of being the next of mind and working hard to make sure that he was successful in his father's business. My grandfather didn't give him a chance. And made it. Impossible for might and T to succeed. And he was so miserable that he finally realized that you know he wasn't he wasn't going to. So why stay and that's when he opted to apply to TWA. Which she did and who accepted him right off the bat. And moved him to Boston and he flew. The Logan LEX route which was a big deal at the time. But because that was consider betrayal. If it wants to betrayal by your grandfather. President trump didn't wasn't a fan of either he says now and he has said. For the last couple of years that you regrets the pressure he put. I hear father. You shouldn't. But I Hugh is also following his Doug script. So. Donald was. Just record from high school. So I can't fault him necessarily. For. Doing what his father asked considered. Done it it was terrible to have put him in a position. Certainly. What it. Isn't okay is that is the revisionist history. You know we did Freddie was had a debt and you know we should have. We should have let him as of Donald had any power over what my dad and we should have let him do what he wanted to do. Which again at the time they considered being a glorified bus driver. And and also. See the wave my dad has presented I don't know that I've ever heard Donald talk about. My dad. As a pilot has some member of the air force national National Guard. Or any of that. It's it's more as somebody who couldn't hack it in the found lane and lost his way. Your father once contemplated mashed potatoes and how's that. Yeah that's one of our favorite family stories. And. They were really Riyadh and kids and I think Donna was maybe seven. And one of his. Favorite things to do is torment my uncle rob. And was a couple years younger. It was get my grandmother's cooking dinner and and getting the table ready and dom was just being merciless and Marianne. And my dad could not get him to stop. And finally mind. Had no other option but to pick up a bowl of possession and mashed potatoes and just dump it on Ozal brother said. And it ended idea. That it ended the fight but I think it also started something. Because Donald was humiliated by it as evidenced by the way he reacts to this story now. Is no sense of humor about it whatsoever he came up when you were at. The White House and we'll 2017. Yes yes who brought it up. My and Marianne. Yeah an act. We know that he doesn't like the story so I think it was a bit of a dig it also way to remember my dad in a way that's not charged. Because. All of us except I don't think it's funny and. Sweet. But he did not he doesn't like that story. Election night 2016. I think he treated at its worst night in my life one of them you know the worst ice in my life. Then why go to the White House in April 2017. Fellas are very complicated. And I had been on the outside. Of the Stanley for really long time. And after her. My cousin of I Lanka's wedding which for reasons I still don't understand I was invited to. My aunt Marianne and I. Started. Talking. And meet developed a relationship. Which we've never had before quite honestly. And it mattered to me you know it it it was the first time I felt part of the family. Since I was a kid. And somehow it it was very easy for me to put aside. All of the things that it happened previous to that. And I didn't. I enjoyed her company she's funny she's Smart. And it just. When when I ain't got invited to her birthday party I felt that I should I should go. This is a hard question and ask it anyway is is is writing the book an extension of the dysfunction of the family. Probably. Yeah I didn't write it. Says. Form of therapy. Or. Anything like done. In fact I would have preferred not to read it it was quite difficult. And I sometimes still I would've been better off not knowing some of the things I now know. But he had them the book is absolutely important. Other family dysfunction and you know nobody can escape that. You know. Obviously my generation. It was less affected. Then my father's. But. Real we've been affected. And I'm not going to speak for an even but he Yeltsin my generation. But it hasn't been easy. And. It it it's an interesting question and yeah. I think Europe that it is December in part few Brothers not happy with the book. I believe that my brother is entitled to. His privacy. And his opinion. And I am conclude is supportive. Whatever. Relationship he has with my family. And whatever choices he makes that student it's none of my business this is entirely my doing I didn't consult anybody. Nobody knew and in my family nobody knew what was happening. You know I didn't feel that I needed to ask permission by any stretch of the imagination but I didn't want to implicate anybody. You know this is this is my responsibility. And I believe very strongly that it's my obligation. But if other people don't feel that way I completely respect them. You do we have one potentially explosive allegation in the book at least one. And you write that when the president was trying to transfer from Fordham to pan am he had someone else a man named Joseph Shapiro. Take his SATs yes. This is 1964 how do you know that. I've been told this by people in my family. I am absolutely. Confident that it's true. I'm happy finally to be able to speak about it I also know that it was not the who just happened to be at it you pen when Donald was and you happen to be born in New York along I'm guessing with many many many others are Shapiro's. At a rent out time. But I didn't stand by it. Perhaps it was it to be clear it's not Pam Shriver Hampshire over the widow or your Shapiro. Has come out publicly and said he didn't meet Donald Trump until and there's no way this is true. Yes and I should I feel terrible that she's been subjected to thus I honestly I wish I could've said something sooner but obviously I could and I'm happy to now. And I aim. Absolutely stand by the story and I think the only people other than me who can address it are other people my family and I look forward to hearing their response. To that question. How do you know it's true. I trust my sources these Joseph Shapiro still alive that I don't know. I have no identity ever met your Shapiro I have not. So your comment you believe in your sources. How do your sources now. They were. Oh life at this time. So. Date. They have first hand knowledge of us and you believe other members your family. Also know this is true yes. And Donald Trump knows it's true. Yes Plato says is absurd Fossett. I've of course. They weren't but the White House isn't Donald and it is independent. Press secretary of for the White House does not represents. My aunts and other uncle he'd prove it's true. Can I prove it no because I eighty I'm. Counting on. People I trust to told me the stories. So in terms of documentation. Now I can't prevent but I can. Certainly. Say with a 100% certainty. That. I was told the story by as a source very close to adopt. The evidence storage is is slim. And. Which. Ended in all seriousness it's tragic about it to me. Is that I think he had those impulses. But they've been so perverted by my grandfather. They'd been so perverted by the example my grandfather had made of my father. That he didn't quite know how to do it. So. When Don old. Was trying genuinely to be kind or not I'm not talking about the superficial charm he uses quite effectively. To draw people in. Initially I'm talking about. Really. Wanting to can act or. Be there in some way he just can't do it. Where he couldn't I don't honestly I don't I don't think that's even an issue anymore we're talking about decades ago. And. I believe and I I write about that's the very early stuff that. One of the unforgivable things my grandfather did to Donald was he. Severely restricted to. The range of human emotion that was accessible to him. Which makes it an incremental clean it means that. Certain. Feelings. Were not allowed out. Sadness. Both kindness is and a feeling so feelings. Impulse is the impulse to behind the impulse to be generous. And for the boys and speaking of the boys now particularly Donald and my dad. Those things at my grandfather found. Superfluous. Un manly. A stupid waste of time is probably how he would have put it or punished ruthlessly punished. And my dad couldn't change who he wants. So. He just. It was dismantled over time Donald's. Trying his very best. Not to be destroyed in the way in my dad was destroyed. So he ended up with a very narrow range in which she could safely operate as a human being. And it's made it. Extraordinarily difficult for him to live in the world. And as I said earlier he's never really had to. So. It's created this crate a dangerous situation. Does the hardest scenes to me to her to read in the book. Are the way the family. She said say the men in the family. Deal with the weakness. Sickness. Death. Starting out ways Fred senior. When his wife is you know. Yes. My grandfather. Was and it clearance to Norman Vincent kills. Doctrine of positive thinking. It's certainly it didn't begin with Norman Vincent hill my grandfather had always bitten. The kind of person you could not deal with negativity had no patience. You call it toxic positive and yes because. It. A loud room for nothing else. And there are times in our lives. When we. Are legitimately. Distressed were legitimately sad were legitimately in pain. And should be prevented. From being able to feel those feelings. Honestly and openly. Is a form of torture. You know my my grandmother. Who. Was sick and and often and broke bones. More times than I can count because of her osteoporosis. Was in agony. Much of the time. You know should come home from the hospital she be in a hospital bed doing physical therapy. And just moving was was extraordinarily. Painful for her. And I grandfather could not tolerate it. You know it it didn't hinged on this idea he had that everything had to be great at all times. And the only people who suffered for that. For the people who are actually in pain. No first my grandmother then my downed. And than anybody else in the family he showed the weakness of being human. He fathered and got very ill deathly ill. And you get a phone call from her grandfather. Yeah that was. That's the kind of experience. That's shaped as much by what happened after. As it is in the moment and I remember that conversation. Verbatim. It was sold. Striking at the time but also. Given what I now know was the truth from their well I was having that conversation. I've never I will never forget it. He. I'd been told so call. Home. I didn't know why. My mother wasn't home so I called I was told to call my grandparents in that event. And when my grandfather got on the phone. He said. Your dad sit back. An arm is it serious he's in the hospital but it's not serious. Okay. But you know why can't walk to my calling you at 10 o'clock on a Saturday night if it's not serious I was thinking to myself. So it should rule. Is it is heart because he had had open heart surgery. Three years earlier at the age of 39. And he said. Yes it's his heart and I simple than it this year X. Yes it's serious. But don't worry about it call your mother in the morning. And as I found out. Sue minutes later when I called my mother to find out what was going on my father had died two hours earlier. More or less along. Completely alone. Obviously with strangers surrounding him but. And no family. You write that his brother. Went to the movies yeah that shocked even me when I heard about it Aaron. You know it was bad enough. It was probably worse honestly that my dad's parents. Just sent in the library in the house waiting for a phone call. I will never know why they didn't go to the hospital to be with their son who was clearly dying. So maybe it isn't surprising. That Donald didn't think he needed to be there. May be that would've looked fat to his father. And may be sitting around waiting for the phone call was too burdensome. I don't know. But. You know I've often wondered what movie did he go to see. That seemed at more compelling than. Sitting with his dying for other. I'll never known. For many years after your father died you were taking care of by the dam family moved. Then Fred trump dies. And yet the impasse. Which are still deal with the consequences them today. Yeah. I sort of clarify something the EC taking care of dean. Sense in which that's true is no different from the sense in which it's your for anybody else in my family. You know my dad had trust funds which my brother and I inherited when my father died. We had. The same health insurance through my grandfather's company. That everybody else in the family had it was and is if you know we were. Getting handouts. We had the same exact arrangements everybody else had. With the differences you know read our father was no longer alive. And not that I did at the time but that we had no we read no further expectations. From a grandfather. Didn't find that until regulator. So. It's interesting to me that that they have the spirit very. Self serving double standard when it comes to. Describing. What I've received. Because of my grandfather's wealth and because my father died when I was sixteen. And their own circumstances. But the dispute has basically you believe you and your brother believed that you deserved your father share. Of the family that's actually not entirely accurate because the. The lawsuit. Was. Not him it was less about my grandfather's a state. Then it was. About a partnership buy out. I don't know at the time it would have been able to put it in those terms. But that's essentially what it was so. That's that's where the problems arose. And did you speak out ugly. You or your brother has a son. Who had a health issues and at one point they threatened to cut off his health insurance they get cut off are helping parents. And where to go from there. We had to sue them. Too have their health insurance reinstated. It never was I do believe though some accommodations. Were made from my nephews thankfully. But that was my last involvement in any way with the family when it was also in the lawsuit was done did you think was a fair settlement. No. But. I didn't have enough information. To understand in what way it wasn't fair. And at the time again as a very long time ago and. I was very close of my grandmother. So a lot of it for me was wrapped up in. The. Quite honestly devastation I felt when. She let us go so easily because of money. So that was much more. Important to me. Then the other side of it. And it certainly mid they're the dealing with you know the money issues harder. Because. Little was all about the money wasn't. I'm trump. You know I I everything's about money in assembling. But. I'm also different from them. And for me. What I understood him one of the reasons it was so devastating was that. Money stood in for. Everything else it was literally the only currency. The family traffic doesn't. So I knew then added. It was also. About luff. And to be. Dis inherited. TVE. Shut out entirely. From the welfare family it was to be told quite explicitly. That you don't count and you are not locked. Part of this animal was a non disclosure agreement. Why do you feel today that it's not necessary to abide by that. Terror she reasons. One it did set some of those reasons or. Technical. And I'm not a lawyer so. I don't wanna go into too much of your lawyers made those are you can see he's been that they did brilliantly and they're extraordinary. Ted Ted Boutros an A champions they're extraordinary human beings. And attorneys. But. The technical stuff decides. I didn't shield that the. NDA mattered one way or the other because. What I have to say is too important. And. I and whether ads and publishers book on my own. Horrors suffer the consequences. Of a court battle I I didn't care. 2017. Few months after. Near its birthday at the waiter asked. You start getting calls from New York Times. Described. Actually it started with a knock on my door but so. There was no easing it was struggles. Yes Suzanne Craig. Investigative reporter extraordinaire. Knocked on my door I believe it was June that's what he's seventeen. And told me that. They were trying to rewrite the history. Of my family's finances. And she believe that I could help them. Teach you know or was she fishing. I don't know actually. Either way. Sure his spot on but I did it you know I didn't know it at the time. I didn't remember that I had anything in my possession I'd put it this far behind me as I could. And I said to her. I'm sorry I don't speak to reporters. But I took her business card anyway and then she started writing letters and called on occasion. And it wasn't until I got. Trapped in my house because same fractured right fifth minutes rehearsals and was. Completely stuck on a cab for about four months that I started thinking about her letters. Which seemed increasingly compelling. Ann Coulter who's the pitch to pitch was that. I had in my possession because of the lawsuit. Documents that they believed. Could help them. Uncover. Certain financial improprieties. That my finally starting with my grandfather hadn't been engaged in for decades. And you know finally I guess at some point I thought why not. Now if I can help. I knew that my speaking out wasn't going to make a difference certainly then. But if if there's anything I can do to help I did not like what was happening. I in the country I did not like the way things were going. It's impossible to pick up the last straw but. Just the unraveling. You know the destruction of institutional memory the degradation of institutions. And there from the Muslim them. On down to the kidnapping and incarceration of children at the border it was. Unbearable. And. It wasn't just Donald it was as I said earlier that the number of people willing to enabled us. So. I said aren't and I went to. There office of my even then attorney. And. Took a while it wasn't it's it didn't just happen and one day but eventually I got nineteen boxes full of documents. Drove them to my house and hand them over and the rest is history one of the if not be most extraordinary piece of journalism I've ever seen in my life. As a reporter. I can't imagine. Or discredit not whether I can imagine are not their reaction. When he brought in nineteen boxes of tax documents. We were really happy that it was that yeah they whiz. Amazing. They were. That we earlier ecstatic. Because it finally felt real and they had been working on the story for months old beauty even knows in the documents really not knowing. No way to. But they knew they seem to think. That it was. X stream Lee valuable. And I knew that they knew where there were doing. A year later Pulitzer Prize the story breaks here and it describes. A few things. Dead Donald Trump's debt was far wealthier than people knew it and far we'll hear the union lawyers knew them yet when the will was being fought over there. That Donald Trump was far less wealthy. Than people knew but for yet his grandfather. And also raised the question that perhaps some of it was done in a way that could constitute tax fraud. What about that surprised you. Honestly none of that surprise me. What did surprise me was the links. They allegedly went too. The formation of all county. Which from what I understand was simply a shell corporation designed to siphon money. Away from my grandfather's. Very valuable. And successful company. So that that money can sort of be disappeared. And the money left to pay taxes aren't was significantly less. So. That amazed me. Part of the reason you can put up a bigger fight. When the will was being disputed. Was that your lawyer believe that the entire for a travesty was thirty million dollars right what was it. It was almost a billion dollars. So 970. Million more. Were you surprised to add to. How little political impact. Those revelations seem to have. I was. You know. A lot of people were rightly. Effusive. And greet full. For the brilliant work and the startling revelations that should have mattered. But how many times have we seen this play out and that this is one thing that I grapple with trying to understand. For most of us. Are mistakes are cumulative. You know our our transgressions aren't cumulative. So. When there's erect hitting. The sum total of what we've done is taken into account that does not seem to exist. In Donald's universe it's this horrible thing happens and then this horrible thing happen so we forget about the first horrible thing. So they just replace each other good for you. The politically become personal the personal and become political yes you write I had to take Donald down. Yes. Maybe a bit of an overstatement there in the sense that. I didn't. Ever seeing that there was when anyone seeing iron or anybody else could do. But certainly in that moment that I'm describing. I feel the I needed to do anything I could. Not just to stop this. But also to make up for the fact that. I hadn't done anything in the past. That weighed on me even though I knew that it probably wouldn't have made made a difference. You know if this almost 141000 word article. Didn't have the kind of impact it should have had by all rights. Then nothing I would have said necessarily would have mattered but. I definitely felt the responsibility. Of needing to do something moody want to happen now. This country. Is on a precipice. And we have a decision to make in the not too distant future. About who we want to be. And where we want to go is a country. It's hard for me to process. Just how many awful things are going on. Simultaneously. On a daily basis. And. People need to know people need as much information. As soon as is available. In order. To make a decision that makes sense. For. Our future. As a as a country because as Americans. As citizens of the world so to speak. The New York Times review of your book concludes. As saying it's been written from pain. And designed to hurt. Fair critique. Now. Ridden from him absolutely. Hurting wasn't my day. It wasn't a goal that wasn't an intention. If telling the truth is telling the story is as I remember them as they were told to me. Causes pain then the people who protested and participated of them. Need to. Look to themselves. April 2017100. And very began care you go you see the president in the Oval Office. Any step tell him don't let them get you down. Did you meet men. I didn't. Actually. That was four months and. He already seemed very. Strains Daiei the pressures you know he'd never been in this situation before. Where. He was an entirely protected. From criticism. Or accountability. Or things like that. And I just remembers thinking geez seems tired he seems. I think this is not what he signed up for those if she even knows what he's signed up for. And I thought his responses actually. More enlightening then then. My statement. And he said. They won't get me. And so far. Looks like his right. And if you're in the Oval Office today. What would you say to. Resigned. Thank you. I'm George Stephanopoulos thanks for joining us here on the special edition of ABC news life.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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