The Latest: Trump jokes about charge vs. campaign manager

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on misdemeanor charges against Donald Trump’s campaign manager (all times EDT):

9:50 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is apparently joking about pressing charges against a female reporter who accused his campaign manager of yanking her arm.

Corey Lewandowski was charged with simple battery Tuesday as a result of the incident. Trump has made the case that Lewandowski was protecting him from the reporters.

Trump was speaking about the incident at length at a CNN town hall event Tuesday night.

He says: “Oh my arm is hurting me. Should I press charges?

He adds, “Maybe I should.”

Trump later joked, “My arm, it’s never been the same, folks.”

Trump says it would have been easy for him to fire Lewandowski, but he is “a loyal person” who’s not going to dump a staff member out of political correctness.


7:35 p.m.

Donald Trump is upset that he wasn’t interviewed with by Florida police in the aftermath of the incident that led to his campaign manager being charged with simple battery.

Trump, in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity to air Tuesday night, said he thought it was “very unjust” that “nobody” from law enforcement called him after the early March incident.

A Breitbart News reporter accused Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, of grabbing her. Lewandowski turned himself into Jupiter, Florida, police Tuesday.

Trump played up his connections in the Florida town, where he owns a resort, while expressing his puzzlement over the police department’s actions. He suggested that his staffer acted to protect him and vowed not to fire him.

“You know, they’re chopping off heads, they’re drowning people in the Middle East,” Trump said. “We’re going to destroy a man’s life?”


6:50 p.m.

Donald Trump is doubling down on his support for campaign manager Corey Lewandowski hours after Lewandowski faced battery charges for grabbing a reporter earlier this month.

Lewandowski turned himself in to police in Florida on Tuesday.

Later, Trump held his first rally in Wisconsin. He said the “the easiest thing” to have done would have been to say, “Corey, you’re fired.”

But Trump said he would not do it “because it would destroy a man’s life.” His remarks, which drew cheers at the Janesville rally, echoed what he said to reporters on his plane an hour before.

Trump then read the Breitbart News reporter’s original statement to police and claimed it featured discrepancies. He then nodded along to an audience member’s suggestion that Lewandowski may have grabbed the reporter, Michelle Fields, to prevent her from falling or to protect the candidate.


5:10 p.m.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton says that Donald Trump has been “inciting violent behavior, aggressive behavior,” and that he should be responsible for what happens in his campaign.

Speaking at a campaign stop in La Crosse, Wis. Tuesday, Clinton responded to misdemeanor battery charges against Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. She declined to comment on the charges themselves, but said that the reporter who brought the charges, Michelle Fields, who worked for Breitbart News at the time of the incident, “deserves a lot of credit for following through on the way she was physically manhandled.”

“Ultimately,” Clinton said, “the responsibility is Mr. Trump’s.”


4:35 p.m.

Donald Trump says he’s standing by his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after he was charged with simple battery following an altercation with a female reporter.

Trump says he doesn’t “discard people” and called the situation “very unfair” to Lewandowski, one of his closest advisers. He says he hopes the matter doesn’t change Lewandowski’s role on his campaign.

Trump is speaking to reporters on his plane shortly after landing in Wisconsin for a rally ahead of the state’s April 5 primary.


1:30 p.m.

Ted Cruz says misdemeanor battery charges against Donald Trump’s campaign manager are “a very sad development.”

Speaking to reporters ahead of a campaign stop in Wisconsin Tuesday, Cruz described his rival’s campaign as an “abusive culture” which has ‘no place in our democracy.”

“It helps clarify for the voters what the Trump campaign is all about,” Cruz said.


12:50 p.m.

Donald Trump is defending his campaign manager who was charged with misdemeanor battery on Tuesday for an incident with a reporter.

Corey Lewandowski turned himself in to police in Jupiter, Florida. Michelle Fields, a former reporter for Breibart, filed charges that Lewandowski pulled her arm when she tried to ask Trump a question at the Trump National Golf Club on March 8.

Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Lewandowski was “a very decent man” and urged: “Look at tapes-nothing there!”

Surveillance footage taken from the golf club was released by police and appears to show Lewandowski reach toward Fields.

Trump also took to Twitter to suggest that Fields’ account of the incident should be questioned. His campaign also released a statement saying Lewandowski was innocent of all charges.


12:30 p.m.

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign says that rival Donald Trump’s campaign has cultivated a culture of “abusive behavior.”

Cruz spokeswoman Alice Stewart said Tuesday that “personal attacks, verbal attacks, and now physical attacks have no place in politics or anywhere else in our society.”

Police in Florida have charged Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with battery in connection with a recent event involving a reporter.

Cruz’s top aide, Rick Tyler, resigned in February for spreading a story that falsely alleged that former rival Marco Rubio insulted the Bible.

John Kasich’s campaign also weighed in, calling Lewandowski a “bully.”

Kasich’s chief strategist John Weaver said Lewandowski would’ve been fired “long ago” had he worked for Kasich. He added that campaigns reflect the values of a candidate.


11:25 a.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign says manager Corey Lewandowski is “absolutely innocent” following a decision by Florida police to charge him with battery.

The Republican front-runner’s campaign issued a statement Tuesday after Jupiter, Florida, police charged Lewandowski with battery for an incident involving a reporter earlier in the month.

A video surveillance tape obtained by The Associated Press appears to show Lewandowski grabbing Michelle Fields’ arm as she tried to ask Trump a question at a March 8 event.

The statement said Lewandowski “will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court. He is completely confident that he will be exonerated.”

Lewandowski has retained an attorney in West Palm Beach.


11:15 a.m.

Florida police have charged Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with simple assault in connection with an incident earlier in the month involving a reporter.

Police in Jupiter, Florida issued Lewandowski a notice Tuesday to appear before a judge on May 4 for the misdemeanor charge. A surveillance video released by the police appears to show Lewandowski grabbing a reporter for Breitbart News as she tried to ask Trump a question during a March 8 campaign event.

The police report states: “Lewandowski grabbed (Michelle) Fields’ left arm with his right hand causing her to turn and step back.” Fields showed police her left forearm which “appeared to show a grabbing-type injury,” according to the investigating officer.