According to a report by the US News & World Report, CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski has been regularly advising GOP nominee Donald Trump in recent days due to Trump feeling like he can’t count on his current staff. As you may recall, Lewandowski was fired as the Trump campaign manager in June, reportedly due to his abrasive attitude and strategy of letting ‘Trump be Trump’ during the Judge Curiel kerfuffle. Days later, CNN controversially hired him to be a political commentator for the network.
Per the US News & World Report story, while Trump’s campaign has been dealing with a number of scandals, controversies and blow-ups, due entirely to the candidate acting erratically and sticking to his personal strategy of dominance and bad press is good press, Trump has turned to Lewandowski for advice. Apparently, he doesn’t trust current campaign head Paul Manafort or the main staff, so he’s gone all Sarah Palin on them.
The Republican operative familiar with the Trump operation tells U.S. News that Trump has increasingly been back in regular contact with his former campaign manager turned CNN commentator, Corey Lewandowski.
Lewandowski was ousted in June at the behest of Trump’s children, who viewed him as lacking the sophisticated judgment needed to assist their wayward father. A major difference between the reigns of Lewandowski and Manafort is that Lewandowski traveled constantly with Trump, earning his trust and bending his ear. Manafort rarely hits the road and has followed a more typical template by holing up in an office with a phone to his ear and his fingers on a keyboard.
The Manafort model has its advantages, but it also has created a distance from Trump that has stalled decisions and left the candidate without a reliable rudder when things go awry.
“He’s not satisfied with what he’s getting,” the Trump staffer says. “So he’s basically gone rogue.”
Now, the shit going down in The Donald’s campaign is truly fascinating stuff. It really is. But the troubling thing here for CNN is the fact that Lewandowski, while cashing checks from the network to provide commentary on their programming, is now serving as an adviser to his former(?) boss. CNN has already taken a lot of heat from media critics and observers over the potentially unethical hiring of Lewandowski.
As Media Matters has highlighted over the course of the past several weeks, Lewandowski acknowledged that he signed a non-disclosure agreement with Trump and wouldn’t deny that it included a non-disparagement clause. It was noted a few days after his hiring that he was still officially a Trump employee and was in the process of transitioning out of his role. The network provided disclaimers on July 13th that Lewandowski was receiving severance pay from Trump while working for CNN.
None of this has, so far, bothered network chief Jeff Zucker. Earlier this week, he praised the Lewandowski hiring, saying it was working out great and Corey was doing a bang-up job. Of course, this was before Lewandowski went full birther on the air, reviving the very thing that put Trump on the national political map. And, in the shadow of this damning report, it would appear that he was possibly doing that at the behest of his REAL boss, who is currently goin’ rogue.
So, how does Zucker feel about this hire now? And will others at the network be pushing him to cut and run ASAP in order to save what little journalistic credibility CNN has left?