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Former Trump Campaign Manager And Newest CNN Contributor Blames Paul Manafort For Mysterious Payment To Company
In his first interview as a CNN contributor, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski attempted to defend Donald Trump against allegations of wrongdoing after the Washington Post reported that the campaign paid over $700,000 to a company called Left Hand Enterprises LLC.
The Washington Post reported on June 23 that a company called Left Hand Enterprises LLC, which was to print and send direct mail advertisements, “received two big payments” totaling “$730,637 over five days.” The first payment was made to the company just three days after it was formed, raising questions about what the company actually did for the campaign:
On April 25, a new company called Left Hand Enterprises LLC was formed in Delaware, listing its address at an incorporation service provider in Wilmington.
A few days later, the firm received two big payments totaling $503,133 from Donald Trump's presidential campaign to print and send a major shipment of direct mail. The campaign cut another $227,504 check to Left Hand Enterprises on May 2, new campaign finance filings show.
The rapid series of payments — $730,637 over five days — made Left Hand the 10th biggest vendor to the Trump campaign for the entire election cycle. But why it was hired, and what work it provided, remains a mystery even to some top Trump aides.
The first two payments to Left Hand were made on April 28 and April 29 — just days before the crucial May 3 Indiana primary, where Sen. Ted Cruz made his last unsuccessful stand against Trump. Since direct mail firms usually require payment before sending out a shipment, Left Hand would have had very little time to get leaflets to mailboxes in Indiana before voters went to the polls, according to people who work in the industry.
Lewandowski told CNN’s Erin Burnett that he was not responsible for the payments to Left Hand, but defended Trump claiming that “if there is anything that has not been appropriate, Mr. Trump will find it and fix it.” Burnett challenged Lewandowski asking whether it was he or Paul Manafort who managed the Left Hand payment. Lewandowski blamed Manafort:
Lewandowski’s defense of his former boss came during the same interview in which he declined to say whether or not he had signed a document that would forbid him from criticizing Trump. Since CNN announced the hiring of Lewandowski as a contributor, the network has received heavy criticism from media figures, including “grumbling” from CNN staffers.
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CNN has hired former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski despite his history of allegedly manhandling a female reporter, reportedly making “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexual comments about female journalists,” and reportedly “pushing a CNN reporter.” CNN’s own staff previously criticized Lewandowski, calling his behavior "inexcusable" and "unprofessional" and noting he has “faced accusations of being overly aggressive.” Two CNN contributors also signed a letter calling for Trump to fire Lewandowski.
Media figures across the political spectrum are ripping CNN after the network hired former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to be a political commentator on the network.
CNN’s new employee allegedly manhandled a reporter, and news outlets have reported he’s made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexual comments about female journalists.” He was also “accused of pushing a CNN reporter.”
Here’s what some media figures are saying about the hire:
1. Run campaign centered around bigotry and paranoia
2. Get charged with assault
3. Get fired
4. Profit! https://t.co/7nGPt2MOqv
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 23, 2016
CNN reporters must be THRILLED: https://t.co/pciuDLyXBp
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) June 23, 2016
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) June 23, 2016
Prayers for all the women at CNN.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 23, 2016
— Betsy Rothstein (@betsyscribeindc) June 23, 2016
Ok, so I can't stomach Fox or MSNBC, and now I can't watch CNN. I guess that means more ESPN. Bye-bye, CNN. https://t.co/ANyrgZC5Jp
— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) June 23, 2016
Cable networks happy to overlook unfortunate accidents like grabbing a reporter to be able 2 get sum ~insider~ takes https://t.co/1VdFeB5cqR
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) June 23, 2016
FWIW: Lewandowski WOULD be within the norms of cable news hires if he hadn't helmed a campaign unprecedented in its hostility to the press.
— Kyle Blaine (@kyletblaine) June 23, 2016
TBF, paying Lewandowski a salary is arguably just a fair and square commission cut for the massive revenue windfall Trump has brought CNN.
— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) June 23, 2016
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) June 23, 2016
Corey Lewandowski, who was fired on Monday from his position as campaign manager for Donald Trump, has been hired by CNN. The network reported earlier this week that Lewandowski likely signed a nondisclosure agreement that prevents him from disparaging the campaign in any way, throwing into question the type of commentary he will be paid to offer as a political commentator.
After Lewandowski gave an interview with CNN's Dana Bash about his exit from the campaign in which he lauded Trump, the network's senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, reported, "Anyone who works for the Trump campaign signs a nondisclosure agreement, so he cannot disparage or anything like that at all, not that he might be inclined to. I was struck during his interview with Dana how positive he was."
Bash told Lewandowski during the interview in question that "somebody tuning in to watch this might be thinking that they're on another planet because you're making it seem like everything was really great, and I get that that's your instinct because you've been so loyal to him, but it just doesn't make sense in a logical way."
Politico is reporting that CNN is hiring former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski, who was fired from the campaign earlier this week, allegedly manhandled a reporter, and news outlets have reported he’s made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists.” He was also “accused of pushing a CNN reporter.”
Politico wrote that “Lewandowski is joining CNN as a political commentator, according to a source familiar with the arrangement. It's a salaried position and will make Lewandowski exclusive to CNN, effective immediately.”
Lewandowski allegedly manhandled reporter Michelle Fields during a March campaign event in Florida that was caught on video. Police charged him with a single count of misdemeanor battery, and the Palm Beach County state attorney subsequently decided not to prosecute. The attorney said: “While the evidence in this case is legally sufficient for the police to charge Mr. Lewandowski, it is not strong enough to meet the burden of a reasonable likelihood of a conviction.”
BuzzFeed reported in March that Lewandowski made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexual comments about female journalists.” The outlet also reported that he was “accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question”:
As Donald Trump faces questions about his campaign manager’s physical altercation with a protester over the weekend, BuzzFeed News has learned new details about the hard-charging operative’s behavior that raise questions about his judgment and the environment inside the Trump 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.
Asked Monday for comment on these allegations, Lewandowski emailed, “Your story is factually inaccurate.” When BuzzFeed news asked him to clarify which portions of the story he was challenging, he wrote, “Be sure before you accuse me of something it’s accurate. And, in these instances you are wrong.”
BuzzFeed added of the CNN incident:
At a press conference earlier this month in West Palm Beach, Florida, Lewandowski physically pushed CNN reporter Noah Gray away from Trump as he tried to ask the candidate a question, according to a source with close knowledge of the incident.
It was not the first time the campaign manager had gotten in Gray’s face to prevent him from reporting. In November, when the reporter attempted to film protesters who were disrupting a Trump rally, Lewandowski threatened to pull his credentials unless he went back inside the pen the campaign uses to corral journalists. He was also heard warning the press secretary that if Gray didn’t obey him he would be “fucking blacklisted.” The CNN reporter’s tweets about the incident riled Lewandowski and briefly inflamed tensions between the campaign and the traveling press corps, reporters told BuzzFeed News.
A spokesperson for CNN did not respond to a request for comment.
In November, Gray tweeted video of Lewandowski threatening to pull his press credentials if he didn't return to the media "pen" during a campaign event:
— Noah Gray CNN (@NoahGrayCNN) November 19, 2015
Politico similarly reported that “reporters told POLITICO that Lewandowski has made sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists who have covered Trump’s presidential bid. One reporter who was on the receiving end of such comments described them as ‘completely inappropriate in a professional setting.’”
*This post has been updated.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board dismissed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s decision to fire his campaign manager, pointing out that “the shake-up will only make a difference if Mr. Trump recognizes how badly he is harming his own prospects.”
Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski amid “increasing concerns from allies and donors, as well as [Trump’s] children, about the next phase of the campaign.” Lewandowski was an original member of the Trump campaign and took center stage in the controversy following former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields’ accusation that he assaulted her. Trump initially stood by his manager, despite growing concerns within the Republican party over the campaign style.
Numerous right-wing media figures attempted to spin the campaign shake up as a “good pivot” for Trump, but the Journal’s June 20 editorial wrote that Lewandowski’s departure “will only make a difference if Mr. Trump recognizes how badly he is harming his own prospects.” If he doesn’t, the board wrote, “don’t be surprised if unbinding the GOP delegates to choose another nominee at the July convention starts to seem like an urgent and attractive option to a growing number of Republicans.” From the June 20 editorial:
Donald Trump seems to be trying to pack as many self-created crises as he can into the 20 weeks until Election Day, and a new installment arrived Monday as he suddenly fired his campaign manager. Campaigns ultimately reflect the candidate and his leadership, or lack thereof, and the shake-up will only make a difference if Mr. Trump recognizes how badly he is harming his own prospects.
Perhaps the termination of Corey Lewandowski, heretofore Mr. Trump’s most loyal aide who was present at the campaign’s creation, is his concession that his operation is dysfunctional. He allowed competing power centers to emerge, with Mr. Lewandowski anchoring one camp and the veteran Beltway operative Paul Manafort the other.
Mr. Manafort reportedly has been trying to professionalize the campaign. But it isn’t an optimistic signal that Mr. Trump fired Mr. Lewandowski only after a family intervention that included Mr. Trump’s son, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Mr. Trump still has time to reverse his fortunes, even if the hour is late. If he wants to run a national campaign, he’ll allow Mr. Manafort to fill out his shoestring apparatus and put together a coherent hierarchy with delegated responsibilities and clear lines of accountability.
But the hard reality is that the problems with the Trump campaign aren’t Mr. Lewandowski’s fault. They are Donald J. Trump’s. If he wants to avoid a historic loss like 1984 or 1972 that costs the GOP its House and Senate majorities, he’ll take more instruction from political professionals.
If he doesn’t, don’t be surprised if unbinding the GOP delegates to choose another nominee at the July convention starts to seem like an urgent and attractive option to a growing number of Republicans.
Conservative media figures ignored known turmoil in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to claim that the termination of his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski as a sign that the campaign is “about to get serious” and pivot to a more positive campaign.
Media figures noted that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s decision to fire his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is “not normal” “at this stage in campaigns” and “speaks to the chaos that has been unfolding inside the campaign.”
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