Trump Defends Campaign Manager Charged With Battery, Threatens to File Charges Against Reporter

By Al Perrotta Published on March 30, 2016

Donald Trump is standing by his man, offering a full-throated defense of campaign manager and accused batterer Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski was arrested and charged with “simple battery” in Florida Tuesday morning for allegedly grabbing and shoving former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields after a press conference March 8.

After spending weeks denying the incident happened, and accusing Fields of making up the story to generate publicity for herself, Trump took a different tack Tuesday afternoon.

He accused Fields of grabbing at him and that Lewandowski was simply doing his job keeping her at a distance.

What changed? The release of the arrest report and surveillance video.

The Arrest Report

According to the police investigator, video taken from Trump National Golf Club resort in Jupiter, Florida, “parallels what Fields had told me …”:

Fields is seen on video, holding her phone up to Trump, appearing to ask him a question. Trump had looked in her direction, and then Lewandowski extended his left arm out, stepping between Trump and another male subject believed to be U.S. Secret Service. After extending his arm out, Lewandowski appeared to reach for Field’s left arm with his left hand, allowing him to get closer to Fields.

Lewandowski then grabbed Fields left arm with his right hand, causing her to turn and step back. This motion cleared a path for Lewandowski to walk past Fields, allowing him to “catch up” and get closer to Trump, who was walking during this entire incident.”

Here’s the video released by the Juniper Police Department:

 

 

As Katie Pavlich recounts, Lewandowski’s initial reaction when the story broke was unequivocal, denying he ever touched Fields, calling her “totally delusional.”

Trump quickly followed suit, suggesting Fields made the whole story up, advising reporters to “check her out. Just check her out.”

The Trump Defense

Earlier this morning, Trump was still insisting there was nothing to see.

But by 2 o’clock, he was insinuating he was somehow the victim … and maybe he should press charges.

A more detailed response was to come.

Speaking to reporters on his plane in Wisconsin, Trump vouched for Lewankowski, saying the situation was “very, very unfair.” However, according to a BuzzFeed expose last week, this is neither the first, nor the last, time Lewandowski has been accused of rough or unseemly behavior during the campaign.

In recent interviews with more than half a dozen sources who have worked with Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, the strategist was accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances.

Trump defended his refusal to fire his campaign manager, saying that he does not discard people. (Paging ex-wives Ivana Trump and Marla Maples.)

Trump then laid out his explanation of what happened that night in Florida. You can see Trump’s full explanation here:

 

 

According to Trump, the tape shows Fields running up and grabbing him after a news conference which, he says, she was “never supposed to do.” Lewandowski simply intervened to protect him. “He’s acting as an intermediary, trying to block her.” Added Trump, “I told him you should never settle this case, you should go all the way.”

Fields has said from the get-go said she never wanted to make a “case” of the incident. In an interview with Fox News, she said all she was looking for was an explanation and an apology. She’d been told by her now-former bosses at Brietbart News — which is closely aligned with the Trump campaign — that an apology was forthcoming. “I never got that apology,” she told Megyn Kelly, “Instead … they released a statement calling me a liar.”

Today, in response to Trump’s question, “Why aren’t people looking at this reporters earliest statement as to what happened, that is before she found out the episode was on tape?”

Or to borrow a phrase from the retweet Trump sent out last week when attacking Ted Cruz‘s wife Heidi, “a picture is worth a thousand words”:

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