The Trump Wars

33 Questions About Lewandowski’s Lie

He says he's not obligated to be honest with the media. This raises questions for everyone.
September 18, 2019
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(Photo illustration by Hannah Yoest.)

On Tuesday, President Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testified before the House Judiciary Committee during the first hearing of its impeachment investigation.

Lewandowski was shown a clip of him appearing on MSNBC and denying that he had any role in facilitating communications between Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We now know that this is a lie, because in testimony to the special counsel, Lewandowski admitted that Trump had indeed tasked him first with telling Sessions that the Mueller investigation was unfair and later to say that if Sessions would not meet with Lewandowski (a private citizen and not a member of the administration), he was fired.

Asked to reconcile his public statement with his sworn testimony, Lewandowski replied, “I have no obligation to be honest with the media.”

Which suggests a number of questions for various political actors.

For Lewandowski:

  • Under what circumstances are you obligated to be honest?
  • Are you obligated to be honest when speaking in public?
  • Are you obligated to be honest when using social media?
  • Did you lie to the media about your physical altercation with Michelle Fields?
  • Which other of your statements to the media were lies?
  • You have recently been a member of the media, working as a paid contributor to CNN and then OANN. Were you obligated to be honest when you were the media?
  • Were other people obligated to be honest with you when you were the media?
  • Is anyone who appears on OANN obligated to be honest?
  • Are you under an obligation to be honest with Republicans voters?
  • Are you under an obligation to be honest with Democratic voters?
  • What is the difference between speaking to your fellow citizens while appearing on a media platform and speaking to them in person? Does one of these situations obligate you to be honest?
  • If you run for the Senate, why should any voter in New Hampshire believe you are being honest with them?
  • If you run for Senate, you will likely participate in at least one debate moderated by the media. Will you be obligated to be honest during such a debate?
  • If you run for Senate, will members of your campaign be under an obligation to be honest with the media?
  • Are you lying right now?
  • Why should anyone believe you’re not lying right now?

For Donald Trump:

  • When Lewandowski lied to the media on your behalf, were you aware of it?
  • Had you been aware of his lying, would you have asked him to correct the record?
  • Knowing that Lewandowski has lied to media, would you endorse him as a candidate for the U.S. Senate?
  • Are Lewandowski’s lies different from the lies you claim that Democrats tell about you?

For CNN:

  • You hired Corey Lewandowski to be a contributing analyst despite the fact that he had signed a non-disclosure agreement concerning his employment with Donald Trump.
  • Did you see an executed copy of this NDA and understand the full scope by which Lewandowski was legally bound from being candid with your audience?
  • Having hired as an analyst a man who now says that he has “no obligation to be honest with the media” and presented him to viewers as a reliable source of information and analysis, do you owe your audience an apology?
  • Have you put into place any guidelines for making certain that someone like Lewandowski is never hired by the network again?

For the rest of the media:

  • Will you ever book Lewandowski on your air again? Or contact him for comment?
  • How will you deal with a public figure who has now openly confessed that he is under no obligation to be honest whenever he speaks to the media?
  • If you do choose to present Lewandowski on your platform, are you obligated to inform your audience that he has said he is under no obligation to be honest with them?
  • If Lewandowski runs for Senate, how will you present statements and comments from him and his campaign knowing that he has openly declared that he is under no obligation to be honest with the media?

For Trump supporters:

  • Is Corey Lewandowski’s position on honesty with the media acceptable?
  • If it is not acceptable, then what would it mean to you if Trump were to endorse a Lewandowski Senate campaign?
  • If it is acceptable, then was candidate Trump, or is President Trump, obligated to be honest with the media?
  • Are Democrats obligated to be honest with the media?
  • Does it bother you when Democrats are not honest with the media?

There’s more, but this is a start.

Jonathan V. Last

Jonathan V. Last is executive editor of The Bulwark.