Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has been charged with simple battery because of an incident earlier this month in which then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields accused Lewandowski of grabbing her arm, pulling her back and leaving her with bruises on her arm. Like all defendants, Mr. Lewandowski is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. However, the Trump campaign manager does have a history of overly-aggressive acts.
Under Florida law, simple battery is a first degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine.
The charges result from an incident which occurred after a March 8 conference at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter Florida. As Mr. Trump as walking out, Ms. Fields tried to ask him a question. As Michelle Fields told her story,
I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.
The Washington Post’s Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.
Mr. Lewandowski claimed at the time that the reporter was lying. Two days after the incident he tweeted: Apparently, the police were convinced by the video, which shows the campaign manager pulling the reporter back (follow the arrow on the screen shot below taken from the video). Below is the picture from a different angle it was taken from a Daily Beast video This is not the first time Corey Lewandowski has been accused of being overly-aggressive. Lewandowski worked at the RNC and eventually for former congressman Bob Ney (R-OH). According to sources, when Lewandowski was Ney’s chief of staff he would scream at the ethics committee staffers who were investigating Ney for corruption. The Ohio congressman eventually resigned from Congress and plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and making false statements in relation to the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal. He was served 30 months in prison. In an feature about Trump’s campaign manager, The New York Times described Lewandowski as hot-tempered:
who is known to have a temper and who had a mixed reputation at Americans for Prosperity, the group sponsored by Charles G. and David H. Koch he first represented as a lobbyist and for which he later went to work. (…)After seven years with Americans for Prosperity, Mr. Lewandowski moved on, leaving behind some fans who found him to be efficient and effective, but also some detractors, who found his abrasiveness off-putting.
Politico recently reported that Lewandowski has been, “accused of bullying and other inappropriate behavior” by other people in Trump’s campaign.
In interviews with more than 20 sources who have dealt with Lewandowski during his nearly year-long tenure with the Trump campaign and in his previous job with the Koch brothers-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, complaints emerged about Lewandowski being rough with reporters and sexually suggestive with female journalists, while profanely berating conservative officials and co-workers he deemed to be challenging his authority.
Another story presented by Politico involves his tenure at Americans for Prosperity:
..in October 2013. On the sidelines of a meeting of the group’s board in Manhattan, Lewandowski loudly berated the employee for challenging his authority, getting in her personal space and calling her a “c—” in front of a group of AFP employees, including some senior officials, according to three sources who either witnessed the exchange or dealt with its aftermath.
As Lewandowski built Trump’s campaign team, he “developed a reputation for using profanity, controlling access to the candidate and loudly chastising staff who he perceived to be challenging his authority.” In fact, Politico suggested that it was a losing battle with Lewandowski for access to Trump that forced long-time Trump associate Roger Stone to leave the campaign The report claims that other reporters who have covered Donald Trump’s campaign “described instances in which Lewandowski was rough with journalists, using his body to push reporters away from the candidate. They described the former New Hampshire police officer as occasionally acting more like a security guard than a political operative.”
“He can get really hot headed at times,” said a reporter who has covered the campaign and interacted with Lewandowski throughout the cycle.
According to Fox News, Lewandowski threatened Megyn Kelly in the lead up to the Iowa debate which Mr. Trump decided not to participate
Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards, as do threats, including the one leveled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski toward Megyn Kelly. In a call on Saturday with a FOX News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn had a ‘rough couple of days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so. We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees.
Recently, at a Trump rally in Arizona in mid-March, Trump’s campaign manager went into the crowd and was caught pulling a protester back by his collar.
The video of the Michelle Fields incident embedded below was released by the Jupiter Florida police department:
It was also Corey Lewandowski who tried to hire Cheri Jacobus and who lead the slandering of her character, a story that has been covered here on the Lid.
In late January Corey Lewandowski was on a guest Morning Joe to talk about his bosses withdrawal from the FNC debate the next day. Along with the normal Trump campaign super-sized political bravado, he attacked GOP Consultant Cheri Jacobus’ appearance on the Kelly Files the evening before and claimed that she had pitched the Trump Campaign for a job. Lewandowski was lying. Ms. Jacobus wasn’t on the Kelly files the prior evening, and it was the Trump campaign who pitched her to work for the campaign.
This is what the campaign manager said to Joe Scarborough that Wed. morning appearance :
Cheri Jacobus was on [the Kelly Files], wanted to talk about Donald Trump. This is the same person who came to the office on multiple occasions trying to get a job from the trump campaign and when she wasn’t hired she was clearly upset by that. They go out of their way at fox to put left wing liberals on to make their own points because they can’t find conservatives to go it or they find people who want to attack Mr. Trump personal lift I don’t think traditional viewership of Fox which leans more conservative is as concerned about what Michael Moore’s positions are but they choose to put him on to be as derogatory and demeaning as possible to Mr. Trump.
Ms. Jacobus is not a liberal nor did she beg Trump for a job, after telling me the story of her contact with Lewandowski and sending me screen shots of her Facebook conversations with Jim Dornan. Dornan, a friend for thirty years asked if she’d be interested in being the communications director for the Trump campaign committee. Jacobus told him joining a campaign was a bit premature. She hadn’t decided which candidate she preferred. And that was one of the reasons she was reluctant to join any Presidential committee full time.
Dornan responded with “can we at least talk?” And because she hadn’t seen her friend Jim Dornan in a while, she agreed to the lunch. But in her mind she felt that Trump was a political buffoon, and worried that a job with the Trump campaign would be a career killer.
The day of the lunch it was raining and as anyone who has ever tried to get a cab in Manhattan on a rainy day knows, it’s an almost impossible task. Jacobus called her friend Jim on the way to lunch to explain she’d be a bit tardy to lunch (which was at Trump Tower). During that call Dornan asked if she would mind if Corey Lewandowski joined them for lunch. That’s when she realized the lunch would be more of a “formal” interview. And that lunch played out like a get to know you type interview lunch.
After the lunch Jacobus was still on the reluctant side, she felt it was a big job but it was a very emotional environment. After a while she convinced herself to have an open mind. Jacobus stalled a few weeks, but eventually followed up with the professional “thank you for the meeting, it was great exploring opportunities” type follow up email. That’s when her old friend called again saying it was time for a follow-up meeting.
It was that second meeting that closed her “open mind.” According to Cheri Jacobus, at that meeting Lewandowski showed himself to be an, “unhinged, unethical, naive, hot-head.”
For example, the campaign manager bloviated how Fox News was going to lead their campaign effort. He pulled out an email supposedly from Roger Ailes to Trump (which someone must have printed out for billionaire because he isn’t an email user). Trump had hand-written a note on the email to the campaign manager, but the real joy (for Trump and Lewandowski anyway) was the words of Roger Ailes who said he would help Trump’s campaign any way he could. That is not an email one shares with a person who has not yet joined the team, besides this was the same man who a year later was attacking Fox News and Megyn Kelly indicating that Ailes wasn’t as in the tank for Trump as Lewandowski claimed. The campaign Manager added that if Cheri Jacobus worked for the Trump campaign, the billionaire could get her a Fox contract, “I almost laughed out loud” she told me, “Bribe much?”
Now while I wasn’t there to confirm or deny that the email Lewandowski showed her was really from Ailes and not just a creation of the campaign manger, IMHO it’s hard to believe that a man who spent two decades building the #1 rated news network would make a commitment like that. Even if he did it is even more doubtful that he would put it in writing.
At the lunch they also talked about a Trump campaign super PAC. According to the law, a campaign is not allowed to coordinate with a candidate’s super PAC. In other words, that particular discussion was another thing the campaign manager should have kept to himself when conversing with an outsider.
As the meeting ended, the campaign manager (who she described to me as a truly disturbing guy) walked Cheri Jacobus to the elevator. As the doors were closing, Jacobus told him that she didn’t like yelling at reporters, I’ve yelled at reporters a handful of times in 30 plus years in the business. But as a strategy? no way. Lewandowski liked to yell at reporters as a “strategy,” she told me.
Cheri Jacobus, left that meeting convinced she didn’t want to work for Trump, and her comment as the doors closed disclosed the same to Lewandowski. But nevertheless she still followed the professional courtesy of sending a “thank you for the meeting-type email.”
After talking to Ms. Jacobus, I interviewed Jim Dornan, Ms. Jacobus’ friend who was the first contact from team Trump. I had sent Dornan an email with the Facebook conversations he had with Jacobus about the meetings. She had sent them to me and I asked Dornan to verify their truth.
While he couldn’t get into the specifics of what was said at the lunches, conversations etc., because he signed a non-disclose with the Trump team, he was able confirm as valid the Facebook message conversations. Mr. Dornan told me that the following Facebook conversations were absolutely true. They all occurred in May 2015. The first conversation (May 18th) is the key one which proves that the Trump campaign approached her first.
Important Note: Mr. Dornan confirmed both the screen shot above and the typed version of the May 19th messages below:
May 19- Jim to Cheri: He liked you. I thought it went well
May 19-Cheri to Jim:Thanks for arranging the meeting. I am intrigued and am thinking about what I would need. I was just reading the Des Moines Register piece
May 19-Jim to Cheri: TOTAL AGREEMENT!! Corey [Trump’s campaign Mgr Corey Lewandowski] wants to sit down with you next week. I just got off the phone with him. Can you get away for 30 minutes or so? I know your parents are in town
The Facebook exchange below took place on June 8th, approximately three weeks after the first meeting. It demonstrated the reason for a second meeting was not because Ms. Jacobus was begging but as you can see by the first line, because Corey Lewandowski wanted to see her.
None of the above is meant to claim that Corey Lewandowski is guilty of the battery charge for which he has been accused, after all America, defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and, according to a statement released by the Trump campaign, Mr. Lewandowski will enter a plea of not guilty when he appears in court in early May.
Here’s the bottom line though, throughout his career Lewandowski has earned a reputation of being a bully who is quick anger.