Domestic abuse report surfaces against Bannon
LOS ANGELES — Donald Trump’s effort to overcome his deep unpopularity among female voters was dealt a setback Friday as decades-old domestic violence allegations surfaced against Stephen Bannon, the controversial new CEO of his campaign.
In January 1996, Bannon grabbed his wife’s wrist and neck, then smashed a phone when she tried to call 911 from their home in Santa Monica, Calif., according to a police report.
Police photographed “red marks on her left wrist and the right side of her neck,” the report said.
Years earlier, three or four other arguments also “became physical,” Bannon’s wife, Mary Louise Piccard, told police. The couple divorced soon after the 1996 altercation.
Police charged Bannon with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness. Bannon pleaded not guilty, records show. The charges were ultimately dropped when Piccard did not show up in court, according to Politico and the New York Post, which first reported the case.
Details of the case emerged hours after Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, faulted him for hiring Bannon last week in the latest shake-up of his campaign’s high command.
Clinton portrayed Bannon as a right-wing extremist who promoted racist, “anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women” ideas as chairman of the Breitbart News Network website. Bannon, 62, has taken a leave from Breitbart to serve as CEO of the Republican presidential nominee’s The allegations against Stephen Bannon, the new CEO of Donald Trump’s campaign, date to a 1996 altercation.
Clinton calendars still to come
Seven months after a federal judge ordered the State Department to begin releasing monthly batches of the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, the government said it won’t finish the job before Election Day.
So far, about half of the schedules have been released. The State Department’s lawyers said that it expects to release the last of the schedules around Dec. 30. campaign.
The Trump campaign did not respond to inquiries about the police report.
Alexandra Preate, Bannon’s spokeswoman at Breitbart, declined to comment on the specific allegations, apart from pointing out that the charges were dismissed.
The abuse allegations against Bannon surfaced as Clinton and her allies have been highlighting Trump’s history of derogatory remarks about women. Clinton led Trump among female voters 58-35 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll at the beginning of August, and 60 percent of those polled overall said they saw Trump as biased against women and minorities.
If Trump had vetted Bannon before hiring him, his ex- wife’s accusations should have been disquali- fying, said Katie Packer, who was deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for president and led an effort to block Trump from getting the GOP nomination.
“Given the questions that women already have about how Trump views women and how he has treated women historically, elevating someone like this to such a high position only reinforces the idea that Trump doesn’t respect and value women,” she said.
But Charlie Black, a GOP strategist who has informally advised the Trump campaign, said the allegations against Bannon fell into a “gray area” because the charges were dropped.
Piccard, who was Bannon’s second wife, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.