- Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, former operatives for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, dismissed concerns about a factual discrepancy in their new book.
- The New York Times disputed a claim that the paper shared an advance copy of a story last year with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, who worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, insisted that the facts in their new book “Let Trump Be Trump” hold up despite criticism.
In their book, Lewandowski and Bossie, the former campaign manager and deputy campaign manager, respectively, said The New York Times provided then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort with a “transcript” of a forthcoming story in advance of its publication about allegations that Manafort received a massive payouts from a Ukrainian political party.
Over the weekend, The New York Times denied this took place, instead saying that one of the reporters, Barry Meier, sought comment from Manafort but did not provide an advance draft, a practice generally frowned upon in journalism.
But in an interview with Business Insider, Lewandowski and Bossie repeatedly insisted that The Times had “not disputed the fact that they provided Paul Manafort a draft of the article so he could have a rebuttal to it.”
“There has been no dispute that Paul Manafort showed that to Steve Bannon,” Lewandowski said in a brief telephone interview, referring to the former campaign CEO. “That’s exactly what we wrote in the book, it’s 100% factual. Steve Bannon is on the record as saying that, so there is no dispute of those facts from the New York Times, Steve Bannon, or Paul Manafort.”
Bossie chimed in: “The New York Times can have their own opinion but they don’t get to choose the facts. They want to say that Steve Bannon is lying, and that is not accurate. Steve read the article that Paul Manafort provided to him. Somebody at The New York Times, maybe a reporter working on the story, wanted comment, wanted to make sure it was factual, whatever the case may be.”
Further, Lewandowski insisted that the only person who had contradicted them was Meier, and that his claim did not carry the full backing of The New York Times.
“Dean Baquet of The New York Times has not said that what we wrote is factually inaccurate, nor has anyone else who was directly involved, other than a person who is a writer for The Times,” Lewandowski said. “That is not a person who has any standing in this.”
When Business Insider pointed out that The New York Times had indeed pushed back in a statement against the assertion that the paper had shared a copy of the article with Manafort in advance, Bossie doubled down.
“We stand by, 100%,” Bossie said. “From a fact-checking standpoint, we interviewed Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon read the book, and he stands by it, and he was a first-person account.”
In a statement to Business Insider on Tuesday, The Times reaffirmed that the paper indeed disputed Lewandowski and Bossie’s claim, and noted that it had not shared an advance copy of the story with Manafort.
“The New York Times sought comment from Paul Manafort and his representatives before publication,” The Times said. “However, at no time was Mr. Manafort or his representatives provided with a transcript or draft of the story before its publication.”
The paper added: “Our story published online a little before 8:30pm ET on Sunday, August 14. The timeline in the book’s passage suggests they were reading the already published story.”
Though the book has gotten plenty of publicity as a juicy tell-all, some critics have urged caution about some of its claims.
On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Sopan Deb, who covered the Trump campaign in 2016 as an embedded reporter for CBS News, criticized a passage in the book in which Bossie and Lewandowski said he was “literally crying” at a press conference before the second presidential debate when Trump appeared with women who accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.
A video of the brief press conference shared on Trump’s Facebook last October briefly appeared to show a dry-eyed Deb working on his laptop during the press conference.
Corey Lewandowski tells a lie about reporters there is obvious tape of. (That sounds like something that happened on the campaign trail already!) pic.twitter.com/iAzdfz5GgJ
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) December 5, 2017
News website Splinter published a piece on Tuesday urging reporters not to believe Lewandowski and Bossie’s claims, while other journalists said Lewandowski was notorious for misleading reporters.
Lewandowski is bar none the biggest proven liar I’ve ever interacted with in politics. Any juicy claims in his new book should he cross-checked at least 8 times a claim https://t.co/FGhLEL7Zkg
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) December 3, 2017