In a lawsuit against Donald Trump and his just-demoted campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for defamation, Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus claims she saw an email from Roger Ailes asking Trump to “let him know what Fox could do to help” his campaign.
While reporter Michelle Fields mulls over suing Lewandowski for defamation after he thuggishly grabbed her arm and then smeared her as "totally delusional," Jacobus has gone ahead and sued for $4 million over smears directed at her.
In a now-familiar pattern of the Trump campaign, Lewandowski (who was demoted yesterday) and Trump attacked Jacobus on Twitter after she was sharply critical of the candidate on television. They accused her of carrying a grudge over being rejected for a job. For example, Trump tweeted, “@cherijacobus begged us for a job. We said no and she went hostile. A real dummy!”
In her suit, Jacobus said it was the Trump campaign that sought her out - and even dangled a Fox News job after the campaign as an inducement. Her details paint a picture of just the kind of Ailes/Fox/Trump coziness we’d expect. From Dylan Byers' rundown of the suit:
In May 2015, during a lunch meeting at Trump Tower, Lewandowski asked Jacobus if she was under contract with any television networks, according to the lawsuit. Jacobus claims in the suit that she said no and that Lewandowski responded by citing Trump’s connections—Jacobus interpreted the exchange as an attempt to induce her into a job with the Trump campaign.
“Lewandowski responded ... by stating that Trump was very close to Roger Ailes, the head of Fox, and that after the campaign Trump could probably pick up the phone and get Jacobus a Fox contract,” the lawsuit states. “Lewandowski also noted that Trump was great friends with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News and Joe Scarborough, host of ‘Morning Joe’ on MSNBC.”
At another meeting at Trump’s campaign offices, the suit states, Lewandowski boasted “about yelling at Megyn Kelly” and “Trump’s relationship with Roger Ailes.”
Lewandowski then told Jacobus that he and Trump had dined with Ailes recently “and had assurances that Fox was on board” with Trump’s campaign, according to the lawsuit. “Lewandowski then took from his desk drawer a printed copy of an email from Ailes to Trump in which Ailes communicated to Trump that Trump should let him know what Fox could do to help,” the lawsuit claims.
Fox didn’t deny the allegations, they merely said any such email would have been innocuous:
"It’s hardly uncommon for Roger Ailes to sign correspondence by offering a helping hand, but it would be a fanciful interpretation to equate a cordial email with providing assistance to a political candidate in the vein of editorial coverage,” Ms. Briganti said. Mr. Ailes, she added, had no recollection of ever having met Mr. Lewandowski.
In other words, after being accused of, basically, colluding with the Trump campaign, Ailes shrugged it off as an inconsequential misunderstanding. Which just happens to put Ailes on Trump's side over Jacobus'.
Meanwhile, Fox’s on-air treatment of Trump has gone way beyond cordial and into the realm of becoming his on-air campaign partner.
Caricatures of Trump and Ailes by DonkeyHotey via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license (CC BY-SA 2.0).