The Breitbart/Michelle Fields/Trump Campaign Manager saga continues. If you’re just joining this story, I would suggest beginning with Part 1 as this post picks up where the other left off.

Breitbart Reporter and Fox News contributor, Michelle Fields, claimed Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed her arm, tossing her towards the ground when she asked Trump a race-related question. Breitbart News offered a muddled initial response, suggesting if Lewandowski had in fact grabbed Fields, he should apologize. A Washington Post reporter with Fields at the time of the alleged altercation identified Lewandowski as the individual responsible for grabbing Fields.

The Trump campaign denied Lewandowski put his hands on Fields and then proceeded to attack her as “delusional.”

Both sides of the argument

Thursday, Breitbart’s Editor at Large, Ben Shapiro and Trump supporting defense attorney, David Wohl, joined Megyn Kelly to discuss the alleged altercation:

Trump campaign calls Fields ‘delusional’

Lewandowski lashed out at Fields late Thursday night, calling her, “delusional.”

Fields files a police report

Friday morning, Fields filed a police report alleging Lewandowski assaulted her.

Independent Journal Review has learned from a source familiar with the events that Fields has filed a report with the police department in Jupiter, Florida, which is the jurisdiction where the alleged incident occurred. Detective Adam Brown of the Jupiter PD confirmed she had filed, and said they would be releasing a statement shortly. Fields says that Lewandowski grabbed her arm when she attempted to ask Trump a question at the end of his presser following Tuesday’s election results. … The Jupiter Police Department released a statement Friday confirming Independent Journal Review’s story: Jupiter, Florida – The Jupiter Police Department is currently investigating an alleged battery that occurred at 115 Eagle Tree Terrace (Trump National) on March 8, 2016. A police report was filed with the Jupiter Police Department on March 11, 2016 at approximately 10:00AM and the investigation is ongoing. As with any investigation, specific details concerning criminal investigative information is not releasable while the investigation is considered active. Any additional details regarding this incident will be released once the investigation has concluded. The initial report, outlining the date, time, location, and nature of the incident will be released today. No additional information regarding this investigation is available at this time.


Trump campaign denies anything happened, links to Breitbart in press release


Breitbart keeps changing its story

Breitbart’s defense is divided. Editor at Large, Ben Shapiro, called Lewandowski a “thug,” and other Breitbart writers like Brandon Darby have said if what Fields alleges is true, Lewandowski should be fired. Patrick Howley, a Breitbart Reporter was suspended for publicly questioning Fields’ allegations.

Breitbart’s Joel Pollak Zaprudered the CSPAN footage frame by frame, concluding the Washington Post reporter, Ben Terris, who originally identified Lewandowski as the alleged ruffian, mistook Lewandowski for a Secret Service agent of similar stature. The post was updated continually; the story changing slightly with each update.

Breitbart’s attempts to discredit eyewitness reports fall short

Terris refuses to change his story saying, “I saw what I saw.”

Terris took strong issue with Pollak’s assertion that mistaken identity is the “likeliest explanation” based in part on Lewandowski’s denials. “Because he denied it?” asked Terris. “This is Breitbart.” The Daily Beast, citing “sources,” reported that Lewandowski had acknowledged to Breitbart News’s Matthew Boyle having grabbed Fields. “Lewandowski’s explanation to Boyle, said these sources, was that he and Fields had never met before and that he didn’t recognize her as a Breitbart reporter, instead mistaking her for an adversarial member of the mainstream media.”

Video released Friday shows Lewandowski and Terris interacting with one another; problematic to Breitbart’s claims that Terris misidentified Lewandowski:

CSPAN video shows Lewandowski reaching for Fields

CSPAN video of the alleged altercation shows Lewandowski reaching for Fields left arm before the view was obstructed: This video couples the audio obtained by Politico:

Breitbart Spokesman Drops it as a client

Breitbart’s PR handler, Kurt Bardella, dropped Breitbart as a client yesterday afternoon. Shortly after the break was confirmed, Bardella tweeted:

Bardella joined CNN’s Don Lemon late Friday night. “Are you saying they’re [Breitbart] lying?” Lemon asked. “Yes, I am.”

Original reports claimed Lewandowski admitted he grabbed Fields

In The Daily Beast’s initial report, sources indicated Lewandowski confirmed to Breitbart reporter, Matt Boyle, his role in the alleged assault.

The statement was issued in the wee hours of Wednesday morning but remains Breitbart’s official comment on the matter, hours after sources said Lewandowski acknowledged to Breitbart’s Washington political editor, Matthew Boyle, that he did manhandle Fields. Lewandowski’s explanation to Boyle, said these sources, was that he and Fields had never met before and that he didn’t recognize her as a Breitbart reporter, instead mistaking her for an adversarial member of the mainstream media. Trump’s press secretary, Hope Hicks, didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Nor did the usually responsive Boyle.


Select correspondence is released

Since the Daily Beast report, Boyle’s usually active Twitter account went silent. Friday afternoon, Boyle published what he says are the text messages he exchanged with Lewandowski: Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 5.34.39 PM Those text messages reveal no admission, but do show message coordination: 2016_03_11_13.50.25 2016_03_11_13.51.57 The Trump campaign then passed an email between Boyle and Lewandowski to the Washington Post: Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 6.38.57 PM

Fields claims Breitbart is lying

Michelle Fields spoke to Megyn Kelly, about the interaction and claims in an initial phone conversation, Lewandwoski told her editor he grabbed her:

(videos added)

Why does any of this matter?

A presidential campaigns allegedly roughs up a reporter for asking a tough question, then personally attacks the reporter for speaking out. Trump’s campaign could’ve mitigated the damage early on. This should never have turned into a story. The entire purpose of primary season is to vet candidates, to dissect their behavior, attitude, policy platforms, value systems, and overall qualifications to represent our best interests. A value system that believes defaming the opposition rather than addressing accusations head on is concerning, at best.

As our friend Ace of Spades points out, “what you’re seeing here is the first example of Donald Trump’s foreign policy — creating a crisis and completely fragging your one of your only allies. Creating your own crisis, then making it worse and worse for you and all your allies. Because your ego cannot take the minor hit of putting out a printed apology.” Fox News anchor, Greta Van Susteren, suggested everyone “get over,” the Fields incident:

The media might want to ask itself if it is putting too much of a spotlight on this issue,” she writes. “It has crossed my mind that viewers/voters across the nation are thinking that we in the media put more of a spotlight on some non lethal shoving of one our own (a fellow journalist) than on gang shootings, domestic violence or other.

Are those of us entrenched in the media realm a bit more bothered by this kerfuffle than the civilian population? Probably. But that’s because the implications of having a President willing to personally malign those defending themselves is now a tangible threat. Amazingly, despite Trump’s presence on cable news day and night, no one has bothered to ask him about the altercation. There’s also the issue that news outlets aren’t in the habit of sandbagging their own reporters. Oh, and this:

[UPDATE 3-13-2016 by WAJ] – a new video is circulating today that Trump supporters are claiming shows that Fields and the WaPo reporter are lying. I’m not sure it shows that, or what it actually shows notwithstanding the captioning, but we’re adding it since it’s a new development:

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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