LOCAL
Framed, Chapter 1: She was the PTA mom everyone knew. Who would want to harm her?
TRAIL GUIDE
NATION POLITICS TRAIL GUIDE

Donald Trump's campaign manager is charged with battery against reporter

All five presidential candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of next week's primary there.

Will Ted Cruz and John Kasich support the eventual Republican nominee?

Not only did Donald Trump back away from his pledge, Ted Cruz and John Kasich skirted the question during CNN's town hall. 

Donald Trump reneges on pledge to back any Republican nominee

A major point of contention within the Republican presidential primary is whether losing candidates will support the party's eventual nominee.

All of them have promised to do so, including Donald Trump. However, Trump, the New York businessman and current Republican front-runner, backed out of that pledge during a CNN town hall on Tuesday night.

"I have been treated very unfairly," he said.

Ted Cruz has started evading the same question as the battle heats up between him and Trump, often insisting that Trump simply won't be the nominee in the end. 

That's the argument of a 5-year-old.

Anderson Cooper of CNN, responding to Donald Trump saying 'I didn't start' a feud with Ted Cruz over their wives

Ted Cruz says he can make the math work to win the nomination

Shortly after sitting down for a CNN town hall on Tuesday night, Ted Cruz was asked about the improbable math of him winning the Republican presidential nomination.

The Texas senator has won 35% of the delegates so far, but he would need to win 85% for the rest of the primary to clinch the nomination before the convention in July. 

Cruz insisted he can pull it off, saying "we're competing to win." He also said he's in a better position to come out on top if there's a contested convention.  

“John Kasich has no path to winning,” Cruz said, referring to the Ohio governor who is trailing Cruz and Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner. 

Cruz said a candidate needed to win eight states before he could be considered by delegates at the convention, and Kasich has won only his home state of Ohio.

However, even though that rule was in effect in 2012, it's not on the books this year. 

You look good and tough. I wouldn’t want to fight you. Do you think I could take you in a fight? I don’t think so. What do you think? How about we do it right now? That’d be great for television.

Donald Trump to a man he described as a "biker friend" in the audience at his rally Tuesday in Janesville, Wis.

Donald Trump tries to blame reporter over encounter with campaign manager

 (Joshua Lott / Getty Images)
(Joshua Lott / Getty Images)

On social media, speaking to reporters aboard his private plane and, finally, at a town hall with supporters, Donald Trump on Tuesday offered support to his embattled campaign manager, who faces a battery charge stemming from an encounter with a reporter at a news conference. 

And in doing so, Trump sought to cast blame on the reporter, Michelle Fields, who pressed charges against campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. 

"This young woman who complained was talking about maybe being thrown to the floor ... Did anybody see the tape?" Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, asked supporters at a town hall in Janesville, Wis. "What did you think?" 

"There was nothing wrong," shouted a woman from the crowd. 

"If somebody squeezed your arm or did something really bad ... if somebody squeezed your arm or hurt you, wouldn't you start screaming or something? Did you see any change in her face?" 

Fields, who at the time was a reporter for Breitbart News but later resigned when the organization did not back her claim, alleged that Lewandowski forcibly grabbed her after a March 8 news conference at the Trump National Golf Club. Fields posted online that she was nearly pulled to the ground and tweeted pictures of her bruised arm. 

Trump said he would not fire Lewandowski based on the video, which shows Lewandowski grabbing Fields.  

"The easiest thing, 'Corey, you're fired,'" Trump said in a nod to his show "The Apprentice," in which he famously fired people.

But "I’m not going to destroy a man for that," he said of Lewandowski. 

Recap: Donald Trump's first rally after his campaign manager was charged with battery

 I’m not going to destroy a man for that.

Donald Trump, speaking to supporters in Wisconsin about his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski was charged with battery after an incident with a reporter this month.

With charge filed, Hillary Clinton lays blame on Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump ultimately bears responsibility for the legal troubles of his campaign manager, who was charged Tuesday with battery following an altercation with a reporter. 

Asked whether the accusation by a female journalist against Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will hurt Trump with female voters, Clinton replied: "The reporter who brought the charge deserves a lot of credit for following through on the way she was physically handled at an event, and I think the charges being brought today certainly suggest that the authorities thought that her story was credible.”

Clinton, speaking to reporters after a tour of the Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wis., laid the blame on Trump.

"Every candidate has to be responsible for what happens in their campaign and, as I've said repeatedly, what Donald Trump has been doing these last months is inciting violent behavior and aggressive behavior that I think is very dangerous and has resulted in attacks on people at his events and this charge that was brought against his campaign manager," she said. "I'm not going to comment on a pending legal or criminal case, but I think that ultimately the responsibility is Mr. Trump's."

She continued: "The message that Donald Trump has been deploying since he got into this campaign has been very negative. ... His consistent attacks on immigrants, on Muslims, on women, in particular his ongoing insults at Megyn Kelly that really suggest that he set the tone and that he has incited negative and really mean-spirited language and actions. I said that he is like a political arsonist; he has set some fires and then people have acted in ways that I think are deplorable, and therefore he has to be held responsible."

Clinton declined to say whether she would fire her own campaign manager in a similar situation. "I'm not going to comment on this particular case. The charge has been made and they deserve to have their cases heard. I'm making a larger point that the entire campaign has been played to our worst instincts, has set people against each other, and I don't think that has any place in presidential politics or any politics."

Donald Trump visits with supporters in Janesville, Wis.

Donald Trump: 'I don't discard people'

Donald Trump vehemently defended his campaign manager Tuesday, hours after he was charged with battery in an encounter with a reporter following a news conference this month. 

"It would be very easy for me to discard people; I don’t discard people," Trump told reporters aboard his private plane in Janesville, Wis. "I stay with a lot of people that are treated unfairly .... If you look at that tape, he was very, very seriously maligned." 

Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, was referring to surveillance video from the March 8 news conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., that appears to show campaign manager Corey Lewandowski grabbing former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields as she tried to ask Trump a question. 

"If you look at her ... she’s grabbing at me and he’s acting as an intermediary, trying to block her from doing that," Trump said Tuesday. 

In the days after the incident, Lewandowski denied touching Fields and even insisted he had never met her. 

Still, Trump did not waver in his support of Lewandowski on Tuesday. He said the video was "conclusive" in that Lewandowski was innocent. 

"I told him, 'You should never settle this case, you should go all the way,'" Trump said. 

On Twitter, Trump also sent out a barrage of tweets casting blame on Fields for "touching" him. 

Police call for reinforcements, fearing clash between Trump backers and protesters

 (Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Police in House Speaker Paul Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wis., summoned reinforcements from across the region to avert trouble at Donald Trump's first campaign rally in 10 days.

More than 300 officers from across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois gathered at a Holiday Inn Express in Janesville where Trump planned to kick off his Wisconsin primary campaign Tuesday afternoon.

The state holds its primary next Tuesday.

Hours before Trump's arrival, dozens of officers wearing fluorescent green vests watched quietly as protesters in the parking lot chanted, "No hate in our state."

Janesville Police Chief David Moore said he hoped to avoid the kind of violence that broke out at a recent canceled Trump rally in Chicago.

"We coordinated with Secret Service to make sure those things don't repeat themselves," he said.

Trump's campaign complicated the situation by issuing 5,000 tickets for a venue that accommodates only 1,000, Moore said.

In previous years, former President George W. Bush, Gov. Scott Walker and Ryan have all held big events at the hotel. One event of Walker's drew a huge union protest against his measures to curb labor's collective bargaining power.

But police on Tuesday expected a bigger crowd, perhaps several thousand, to protest the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

"We think the threat is bigger," Moore said of the potential for violence.

Protesters gather at Donald Trump's rally in Paul Ryan's hometown, Janesville, Wis.

Cruz: Charge against Trump aide is the result of 'the abusive culture' of billionaire's campaign

As Donald Trump defended his campaign manager, who was charged Tuesday with simple battery of a reporter, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stressed that chaos and violence are ongoing themes of the billionaire businessman's presidential campaign. 

"This is the consequence of the culture of the Trump campaign, the abusive culture," Cruz, Trump's chief rival for the GOP nomination, told reporters while campaigning in Wisconsin. "When you have a campaign that is built on personal insults, on attacks and now physical violence, that has no place in a political campaign, it has no place in our democracy."

Police in Jupiter, Fla., charged Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, with the misdemeanor offense after former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields alleged that he forcibly grabbed her following a March 8 news conference at the Trump National Golf Club. 

Surveillance video released by police Tuesday showed Lewandowski grabbing Fields' arm as she attempted to speak with Trump. Trump and his campaign have said Lewandowski is not guilty.

"If I was in this circumstance, I would take some sort of action, either a suspension or firing," Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the third candidate in the GOP race, said on Tuesday.

John Weaver, Kasich's chief strategist, said on Twitter that "campaigns reflect the values of the candidate."

"I know ours does. If this bully worked for John Kasich, he would have been fired long ago," he said. 

Ahead of Wisconsin's April 5 primary, Trump was scheduled to hold a rally in Janesville on Tuesday and then participate in a CNN-hosted town hall in Milwaukee.

Trump leads Cruz and Kasich in overall delegates as he seeks the Republican nomination. 

Updated 12:04 p.m.: This post was updated to include a comment from Ohio Gov. John Kasich.  

Donald Trump Jr. apologizes for misidentifying woman who gave Nazi salute as Bernie Sanders supporter

 (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)
(E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

The son of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted an apology Monday night over the misidentification as a Bernie Sanders supporter of a woman seen in a viral photo wearing a Trump T-shirt and giving the Nazi salute at Chicago's canceled Trump rally on March 11.

"Nazi salute woman at Chicago rally wasn't Bernie supporter Portia Boulger — was someone else. Got bad info. My apologies," Donald Trump Jr. wrote, clarifying his support of someone else's tweet about Boulger from two weeks earlier. 

Trump responds, denying that surveillance video shows assault

The video Trump is referring to:

Homeland Security head says Republicans hurt U.S. with 'inflammatory' comments about Muslims

Donald Trump’s and Ted Cruz’s comments about Muslims hurt U.S. national security interests, the secretary of Homeland Security said Tuesday.

“Inflammatory comments about … patrolling and securing Muslim neighborhoods or barring Muslims from entering this country, [or] having an immigration policy based on religion is counterproductive to our homeland security and national security interests,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Trump and Cruz have called for heightened scrutiny of Muslims after terrorist attacks linked to Islamic State. After the recent bombings in Brussels, Cruz called for patrols of Muslim neighborhoods. He added to his argument in a Monday op-ed article in the New York Daily News, in which he said the U.S. can’t fight until it identifies the enemy — radical Islamic terrorism.

Johnson agreed that the country needs to protect itself, but he said the two GOP presidential candidates’ methods are “counterproductive.” 

“It is critical that we build bridges to American Muslim communities, not vilify them, not drive them into the shadows, and encourage them to work with us,” Johnson said.  

Trump's campaign manager charged with battery against reporter

Donald Trump’s campaign manager has been charged with battery after a reporter said he forcibly grabbed her following a news conference in Florida.

Corey Lewandowski was issued a summons for misdemeanor battery on Tuesday by Jupiter Town Police. Michelle Fields, then a reporter for the Breitbart News Network, said that Lewandowski pulled on her arm, leaving bruises, at the March 8 event at the Trump National Golf Club.

Police released surveillance video Tuesday:

The Trump campaign issued a statement saying that Lewandowski is innocent. “He will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court,” the statement said.

Ted Cruz wins support of Scott Walker as Wisconsin primary nears

 (Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)
(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)

A week before the Wisconsin primary, Gov. Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday as the Texas senator tries to slow the advance of front-runner Donald Trump.

Walker’s support gives Cruz the heft of a battle-tested statewide political operation. Walker survived a 2012 recall election stemming from his fight to curb the power of organized labor in Wisconsin. In 2014, Walker won a second term as governor just as he began running for president.

In an interview with a Milwaukee conservative radio host, Charlie Sykes, Walker called Cruz a decent man who loves his wife and children.

“He is not afraid to take on the big-government special interests, even sometimes when they’re aligned with our own party,” Walker said.

Trump was interviewed on the same program Monday, but did not appear to realize until midway through it that Sykes openly opposes his candidacy.

Trump dismissed the expected endorsement on Monday night.

Walker’s endorsement of Cruz came as no surprise. When he abandoned his own run for president in September, Walker urged GOP rivals to follow suit “so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to” Trump.

Walker and groups that backed him spent more than $32 million on his campaign for president, but dismal poll ratings drove him from the race.

Cruz, Trump and Kasich are barnstorming across Wisconsin this week. At stake in the primary are 44 delegates -- a relatively small prize, but still important for gauging whether Cruz or Kasich are gaining any momentum in their efforts to stop Trump from winning the nomination.

Hillary Clinton aide dismisses Bernie Sanders' debate request as a 'stunt'

If Bernie Sanders wants to debate Hillary Clinton before the New York primary, he needs to change his negative tone, a Clinton campaign strategist said Monday.

Responding to the Sanders campaign's call to debate in the state, strategist Joel Benenson told CNN that TV ads and radio spots reflect a negative turn that Sanders prides himself on avoiding.

“This party is strong when we have a good, strong, healthy debate, but the tone of the campaign has become increasingly negative and personal in some places,” he said on CNN.

New York Democratic voters deserve a debate before deciding, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver told news outlets Monday.

The back-and-forth bounced back to Clinton’s press secretary later when he called Sanders’ request a “stunt” in an interview with CNN.

“The Sanders campaign is struggling a bit for attention,” press secretary Brian Fallon said. “The delegate math being what it is, people sort of realize the Sanders campaign has an uphill climb.”

By the numbers

All things Clinton | All things Trump

How does Clinton or Trump get to 270 electoral votes? Play with our map.

Who's endorsing who? Find out which celebrities support each candidate.

Find out which Republicans support Donald Trump

Get free news and analysis in your inbox daily from our political team.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
72°