Previous, Thursday, 1:20 PM: CNN confirmed it has hired Donald Trump’s recently fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as a commentator. Presumably, he will never be put in a roundtable of talking heads with CNN contributors S.E. Cupp or Mary Katherine Hamm, who were among the female journalists/TV commentators who signed that petition demanding Trump sack Lewandowski after he grabbed a female reporter at a Trump event, then called her “delusional” when she went public with her account.
The news that Lewandowski has landed a contributor gig at CNN also might be a relief for Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly. FNC said Lewandowski threatened Kelly back in January, when his boss was unhappy that she was going to co-moderate Fox News’ next GOP debate, as she had the first.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Lewandowski’s first post-firing in-studio interview this past Monday had been with CNN’s Dana Bash, during which he stayed entirely on message, gushing about Trump — as CNN journalists marveled for the rest of the day. It’s unclear how much information and/or perspective CNN will gain with Lewandowski on board. According to a Trump nondisclosure agreement obtained by the Associated Press, the candidate requires nearly everyone involved in his campaign to “sign legally binding nondisclosure agreements prohibiting them from releasing any confidential or disparaging information about the real estate mogul, his family or his companies.”
Reported AP: “Those subject to confidentiality agreements include senior advisers like Lewandowski, campaign volunteers, and even a maker of his famous ‘Make America Great Again’ hats.” The agreement is binding during employment and “and at all times thereafter.”
One source says Trump was involved in brokering the deal and that it’s in the half-million range. Contributor fees vary wildly from network to network, and talking head to talking head, depending on what the market will bear.
On the day Lewandowski was escorted from Trump Tower and relieved of his campaign duties, CNN reminisced about the “trail of bizarre moments” for which it would remember him.
Among them, Lewandowski honed the “Let Trump Be Trump” strategy. “Trump’s greatest liability was also his strongest asset: He was brash, outspoken, crude, undisciplined as a speaker and unwieldy in his policy positions. That was just fine with Lewandowski.,” CNN wrote.
“He grabbed a reporter and then said he hadn’t,” CNN added. Although Lewandowski said then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields was “totally delusional” — adding, “I never touched you. As a matter of act I have never even met you” — video emerged showing otherwise during the March campaign event. CNN had reported he subsequently was arrested and charged in Jupiter, FL, with simple battery, after turning himself in on the misdemeanor charge. In April, the Palm Beach County Florida State Attorney announced the state would not charge him with a crime.
Also on CNN’s Memorable Lewandowski Moments list: Lewandowski threatened to revoke credentials from reporters who didn’t follow his orders, the cable news net reported.
Lewandowski’s CNN deal is effective immediately. News of the hire first was reported by Politico.