- The Washington Times - Friday, December 2, 2016

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager called for the incarceration of New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet this week over the newspaper’s pre-election publication of excerpts from the president-elect’s 1995 tax returns.

Corey Lewandowski, the political operative who helped Mr. Trump launch his White House bid in 2015, blasted Mr. Baquet for printing decades-old portions of the president-elect’s tax filings. Mr. Lewandowski made his remarks during at a speech at the Campaign Managers Conference held Wednesday and Thursday at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“He’s willing to commit a felony,” Mr. Lewandowski said during the event, Time reported Friday. “It’s egregious. He should be in jail.”

Despite resigning as chairman of Mr. Trump’s White House campaign in June, Mr. Lewandowski is still widely regarded as a member of the president-elect’s inner circle. He joined CNN as a political commentator shortly after stepping down as chairman of Mr. Trump’s campaign, only to exit that role within days of Mr. Trump being elected president last month amid reports that he’d by vying for a role in his administration.

While Mr. Trump promised in 2015 to release his tax returns upon running for president, he declined to do so. A handful of pages were leaked to The New York Times, which published a story about them in October 2016. While incomplete, those documents indicated that Mr. Trump declared nearly $916 million in losses in 1995 and likely went two decades without paying federal income taxes.

Speaking hypothetically a month earlier, Mr. Baquet said he’d mount a legal fight and risk possible jail time in order for his newspaper to print Mr. Trump’s tax returns. While federal law does prohibit the unauthorized publication of a tax returns or related information, Mr. Baquet said he’d argue that Mr. Trump’s returns are newsworthy since his “whole campaign is built on his success as a businessman and his wealth.”

An envelope containing a portion of his 1995 filings appeared in the mailbox of New York Times reporter Susanne Craig two weeks later, immediately triggering condemnation from the Trump camp and threats of litigation.

“The New York Times should be held accountable, and I hope he sues them into oblivion for doing this,” Mr. Lewandowski said during a subsequent appearance on CNN.

Indeed, Mr. Trump — a frequent critic of The New York Times — previously said as president he’d make it easier to wage lawsuits against the media.

“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Mr. Trump said during a February 2016 rally in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected,” Mr. Trump said.


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