Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Monday that the Republican nominee should sue The New York Times “into oblivion” for publishing a bombshell report suggesting that he may have avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years.
During a panel on CNN’s “New Day,” Lewandowski let loose against the newspaper for publishing the first three pages of Trump’s 1995 tax return, which Times reporter Susanne Craig received from an anonymous source, without the candidate’s permission.
Noting that the Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet said last month that he would risk jail time to publish Trump’s tax returns, Lewandowski charged that the newspaper “decided to publish it without any authentication.”
“They went to the accountant who prepared them,” CNN host Dana Bash replied.
“But he’s also not authorized to release those,” Lewandowski insisted.
Bash explained that the public was interested in the contents of Trump’s tax returns and his refusal to release them, in a break from 40 years of historical precedent, forced the media to take these steps.
“There is no national security interest to Donald Trump’s taxes,” Lewandowski said. “The New York Times should be held accountable and I hope he sues them into oblivion for doing this. Because the fact remains that if it comes out that these are not accurate, where’s the recourse?”
CNN commentator received a severance from the Trump campaign until last week, continues to serve as an informal advisor to the real estate mogul, and is bound by a non-disclosure agreement that prevents him from disparaging his former boss.
The Times verified the authenticity of Trump’s tax documents with Jack Mitnick, the accountant who prepared them. The newspaper also confirmed the legality of publishing them with their own team of lawyers.
Though Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz threatened “appropriate legal action” against the newspaper for publishing the returns, 10 prominent attorneys surveyed by legal blog Concurring Opinions said that the First Amendment protected the newspaper in publishing truthful, newsworthy information about a major public figure.