The byline on one of the latest critical news reports about Donald Trump is a familiar one to the Republican presidential nominee and his supporters: Kurt Eichenwald.
In a cover story for the new edition of Newsweek, Eichenwald reports that “over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders.”
Here's the key context: “This behavior is of particular import given Trump’s frequent condemnations of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, for having deleted more than 30,000 emails from a server she used during her time as secretary of state.”
In short, Eichenwald’s story suggests that Trump is a hypocrite. Previous articles by Eichenwald have chronicled potential conflicts of interest presented by Trump’s many overseas investments and alleged that the real estate mogul violated a U.S. embargo against Cuba.
The reaction of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to the foreign investments story suggested that Eichenwald is well-known and much-loathed in the candidate’s orbit.
“He has zero credibility,” Lewandowski said of Eichenwald on CNN last month. Lewandowski went on to claim falsely that Eichenwald “refused to fact-check this story with the Trump Organization” (Trump's team actually declined to comment) and “has said that George W. Bush was directly involved with 9/11" (Eichenwald has said no such thing).
Lewandowski’s attack seemed mild compared to some of what Eichenwald has gotten from Trump supporters.
“Because I have written critically about Trump,” Eichenwald wrote this month, “I have received innumerable death threats, sometimes just general invocations that I should die, sometimes more specific threats that I should be shot or ‘lynched,’ as one Trump fan wrote. I have been called ‘kike,’ ‘Jew’ and ‘anti-American Zionist,’ even though I’m Episcopalian with a Jewish father (as if that makes a difference). I have received video cartoons that look like they are from Nazi Germany of hook-nosed men dressed in Jewish garb rubbing their hands greedily over piles of money. I have been told to go back where I came from, whatever that means.”
In one particularly alarming incident, Eichenwald received a Twitter message from “Mike's Deplorable AF” that included a video featuring what he described as “some sort of strobe light, with flashing circles and images of Pepe flying toward the screen.” Eichenwald has epilepsy; the video was designed to trigger a seizure.
“Fortunately, since I was standing, I simply dropped my iPad to the ground the second I realized what Mike had done,” Eichenwald wrote. “It landed face down on the bathroom floor.”
Eichenwald’s latest story is another interesting look at Trump’s business practices. It is also a reminder of the hostile environment in which some journalists are producing such reports.