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Montana GOP House Candidate Gianforte Recorded Assaulting Guardian Reporter

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Montana GOP House Candidate Gianforte Recorded Assaulting Guardian Reporter

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MISSOULA, Mont. (Reuters) – Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was accused of physically assaulting a reporter on the campaign trail on Wednesday, the eve of a special election to fill the state’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ben Jacobs, a political correspondent for the U.S. edition of The Guardian newspaper, said in a Twitter post and in a television interview on MSNBC that Gianforte “body slammed” him, breaking his eyeglasses, at a campaign event in Bozeman.

The incident occurred as Jacobs was trying to ask Gianforte about healthcare, according to an audio tape captured by Jacobs and played on cable television networks MSNBC and CNN.

In a statement issued a short time later, the Gianforte campaign did not deny Jacobs’ allegation but countered that he had instigated an altercation by barging into the candidate’s office, shoving a recording device in the politician’s face “and began asking badgering questions.”

“After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined,” the statement from campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said. “Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.”

“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ,” it said.

Interviewed later on cable television network MSNBC, Jacobs said he retreated to a parking lot after the confrontation to call his editor and the police. He said he was speaking to MSNBC from a hospital where he was getting his elbow X-rayed.

Greg Gianforte is running in a special congressional election. CBS 2's Audrina Bigos reports.

In Jacobs’ audio tape of the incident, Gianforte is heard shouting: “I’m sick and tired of you guys. The last guy who came here, you did the same thing.”

After loud scuffling noises are heard, Gianforte yells, “Get the hell out of here” and demands to know if Jacobs is with the Guardian.

“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replies amid more shouting by Gianforte.

According to the audio tape, the confrontation began as Jacobs tried to ask Gianforte if he still supported a Republican healthcare overhaul bill after the Congressional Budget Office found the measure would cost 23 million Americans their medical insurance coverage by 2026.

Another political writer, Alexis Levinson, a reporter for BuzzFeed News, who was just outside the office, tweeted that Jacobs had walked into a room where a local TV crew was set up for an interview with the Republican candidate.

“All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor,” Levinson tweeted. She said she then heard yelling that sounded like Gianforte.

She said Jacobs emerged from the room “holding his broken glasses in his hand and said, “He just bodyslammed me.”

Levinson said Gianforte then went into a room with an aide and closed the door.

Gianforte, a tech executive, is running against Democrat Rob Quist, a banjo-playing political novice who hopes to pull off a surprise victory in the Republican-leaning state.

A victory for Quist could signal trouble ahead for President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans as they defend their 24-seat House majority in next year’s mid-term elections.

Quist and Gianforte are vying for the House seat vacated when Trump named Ryan Zinke as U.S. interior secretary.

Republicans have held Montana’s House seat for two decades, and Gianforte was still favored in a state that Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in last year’s presidential election.

However, both sides say the House race was tightening as Quist focused on criticism of the Republican effort to repeal and replace former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement it “is currently investigating allegations of an assault involving Greg Gianforte. We will provide a press release with more information when appropriate. The investigation is ongoing.”

Quist, attending another campaign event in Missoula, declined to comment on early reports of the incident involving his Republican rival.

(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles and Eric Walsh in Washington; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Peter Cooney and Paul Tait)

IMAGE: Screenshot from Greg for Montana television advertisement

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21 Comments

  1. I of John May 25, 2017

    A bit stressed out is he? Perhaps a break would be in order, a nice long break.

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly May 25, 2017

      He’s only been charged with misdemeanor assault. No 3-5 year public vacation for him.

      I find it unsurprising that the Defendant first claimed that the news of the assault was “fake news”. Is that the new Republican universal defence?

      Oppositely, I am highly surprised that FoxNews.com would be the ones to release the evidence that sinks the defence of the Republican Candidate. I would have thought that Fox would be part of the group to laager the wagons.

      Reply
      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 25, 2017

        Everything is “fake news” in the Trumpian Era, my friend. Isn’t it amazing when you consider from a distance, the evolution of this distortion of much of American society, as the result of FOX, Ailes, and Trump.

        Pretty soon, our “conservative” friends in other parts of the world will start to adopt this pattern of behavior as an aberrant evolutionary adaptation. And begin to instinctively deny everything that casts them in a bad light.

        It’s oh so easy to blame the other person rather than admit failure for one’s atrocious behavior. This is becoming an alarming “norm”. Again, Trump is the “prophet” for this abnormal trend, and he has a large gathering of believers.

        Reply
        1. dpaano May 25, 2017

          Trump was raised to believe that you NEVER apologize for anything or take the blame for anything. You DO notice that whenever something is thrown in his direction, he fobs it off on someone else as being “their” fault!!! I guess he doesn’t realize that anything he or his minions do stops at his desk!

          Reply
    2. dpaano May 25, 2017

      He’ll probably head for Mar-a-Lago for the Memorial Day week-end and play golf. BTW, did you notice how “cold” Melania was towards him during the trip? I don’t think there’s much love lost in that marriage!

      Reply
      1. I of John May 26, 2017

        Melania is obviously not into The Don (not even so much as a handhold). She’s probably waiting to cash in her chips and join her fellow divorcees.

        Reply
  2. Vasant Desai May 25, 2017

    Press should by now understand that GOP Circus does not like to be interviewed and/or being asked questions of which they have no answers and they have to follow their master. Trump. Remember they have to toe and leak his toes without any question.

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker May 25, 2017

      Well, of course not. Now that the Lard Ass in Chief has declared our American First Amendment Right to FREE PRESS is nothing more than “fake news” that must be stamped out, why not?

      Reply
      1. dpaano May 25, 2017

        I also find it interesting that he’s told Brussels that he’s going to find out who “leaked” the pictures of the Manchester bombing to the NY Times. Doesn’t he realize that the press has the right to take the pictures, and the newspaper has the right to decide whether or not to publish them…..it’s not a leak, it’s news. I don’t happen to agree with the newspaper for printing the pictures, but that’s the news media…..it had nothing to do with someone “leaking” the pictures, and Trump can’t do a damned thing about it! He can bluster and promise, but he can’t go after the news media when something like this occurs. I wouldn’t doubt that the pictures came from a Belgium photographer who sent them to the UPI for use by any news media outlet.

        Reply
        1. Eleanore Whitaker May 25, 2017

          Lard Ass in Chief wants total control of the press. That way he can do all the dirty, sneaky underhanded BS he wants and no one but him will know. No where in the First Amendment does it allow ANY president to do that.

          But, here is the real reason Trump has to go. Is it a coincidence he is cutting programs we already paid for to bulk up defense spending? Is it a coincidence that now he has the US revenue to spend on selling arms to the Saudis so he they will sell it to Russia to invade the Ukraine?

          Trump is so dirty. It is difficult to imagine how such a piece of dirt ever got this far.

          Reply
  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 25, 2017

    The GOP monsters have been unleashed. Once we thought there were just a handful, mostly in Congress, at FOX, and other sordid outlets. But the lower echelon Party officials are eager to show they’re a savage and maniacal as the media outlets like FOX and our dear Congressional Senators and Representatives.

    Outwardly, they appear calm, and are often nattily attired, and are able to smile and shake hands. But the beast within is ever present, ready to strike when a pesky question is asked. You can take the GOP congressman out of his/her beastly quarters and beastly work environment into the public arena, but you can’t take the beast out of the Congress member. Montana’s Gianforte demonstrated this fact, with a physical assault because he couldn’t handle a basic question, and in a cowardly manner puts the blame on the Guardian. Pure Trumpian response.

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate”, to quote a line from “Cool Hand Luke”.

    Reply
  4. Eleanore Whitaker May 25, 2017

    Bwhahahahahaha!…Ooops …Sorry folks. But the sight of that big beefy Gianforte trying to say “HE” was the one attacked is like King Kong claiming the Energizer Bunny attacked him. It just strikes me so funny.

    When I visited Montana in 2004 and 2005, I can tell you that the size of the men out there for someone as petite as me was like walking around in the land of oversized giants.

    Gianforte lost his temper. He’s now the icon of what Republican men are which I have known all along: BULLIES. When they aren’t bullying others with psychological mind control games, they do it physically.

    But if there is one thing you can count on, it is that Republican men are born totally incapable of a single moment of accountability. It’s always the “other guy” who did it to “them.”

    We see that all the time with Republicans who run for the “Obama did it too” or the “HIllary did it too” cards. Lame ass excuses for humanity do that kind of thing.

    It’s easy to see why these Republican white male bulls all love Trump. He represents the same kind of bullying they love most. With Republican men, it’s shoot it, stuff it or sexually molest it.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 25, 2017

      You’re a riot, Eleanore. The GOP bus is full of desperate little men, unable to change their own diapers.

      Reply
      1. Eleanore Whitaker May 26, 2017

        The Corn Pones, Cowpokes and Mutton Chops all call that their “culture.” What the hell kind of culture is it that has anger management problems and promotes physical violence?

        You just know Gianforte will win anyway because voters in Montana espouse that same BS the rest of the Republican bullies do: MIGHT makes right.

        We all know why these guys pull this BS. It is to strike fear in the hearts of anyone dumb enough not to fight back.

        But let’s be honest. A thug like Trump and a ruffian like Gianforte are smart enough to twist facts as they always do and lawyer up and bury the true victim in lawsuits.

        Reply
  5. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 25, 2017

    We can rest assured that the turbulent era, “The Trump Age” will produce more displays of Trumpian behavior. Rather than an age of Dinosaurs, such as the Cretaceous or Jurassic, we are seeing a devolution onto an abnormal spur of human evolution, called the GOP-Jurassic Age. (circa ~1960–Present Day). Hopefully, only a relative few Americans will choose that degenerate path back to a Neanderthal mind-set.

    Reply
  6. Dapper Dan May 25, 2017

    One can only hope that for those Montanans who haven’t voted yet can make the difference today to ensure a win for Quist. Gianforte is an embarrassment and should he be convicted he faces up to 6 months in prison and would lose his House seat should he win today. Please don’t vote partisan but for the best candidate you have to choose from. Gianforte is obviously not the better candidate as several newspapers in Montana quickly rescinded their earlier endorsements

    Reply
  7. InGen12 May 25, 2017

    Gianforte was pissed because The Guardian leaked the info that he had invested $250K in Russian companies. Unfit to serve.

    Reply
  8. idamag May 25, 2017

    It didn’t make any difference in Kentucky when a member of Rand Paul’s staff threw a female reporter down and stepped on her neck. Lt’s hope there is more decency in Montana.

    Reply
  9. johninPCFL May 25, 2017

    No surprise here. Agent Orange spent the entire campaign vilifying the free press and urging his supporters to violence against them. One of the GOP finally followed through on the urges.

    Reply
  10. dpaano May 25, 2017

    Goes to show just how desperate the Republicans are getting in Montana…..even Paul Ryan is asking Gianforte to apologize. Hopefully, it’s too late, Plus, if any voter in Montana hears about the CBO report on the proposed healthcare bill, they will NOT vote for Gianforte! The bill, as well as the proposed budget plan, are both ridiculous!! I question what the president and his minions are trying to do…..they certainly are NOT helping the many voters, especially the ones that voted for Trump! He lied to them when he said they would have better healthcare for less money and better services….it’s actually 180 degrees from what he promised them! Should be interesting to see what excuses his voters make when they start losing healthcare and the many other services that Trump’s budget is intending to cut.

    Reply
  11. Eleanore Whitaker May 26, 2017

    Picture this. Gianforte loses. He has to “shake hands” with the winner and instead body slams him to the ground and starts choking him.

    Or, even better. Gianforte wins and goes to the House floor and a Dem DARES to ask him a question about Trumpcare, a totally Republican program which Gianforte still up to the point where the reporter asked him his view of it, Gianforte instead of raising his hand and waiting for the Speaker to say, “The Floor recognizes the (snort, snort, snort, snort) “Gentleman from Montana,” he jumps out of his seat and begins pummeling the Dem.

    Ah yes. The icon of pure Republican MEN. All big mouth bullies who are just asking for the ass whipping they’ll get if they keep trying to outdo Trump on this spite and bullying beat down Republican agenda.

    Reply

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