CNN’s Jake Tapper has conducted a tense interview with Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway after a protestor triggered a security scare over the weekend.
Tapper accused the Trump campaign of spreading misleading information about the protester, including that he tried to assassinate the Republican candidate.
Mr Trump was suddenly pulled off the stage at a rally by secret service agents on Saturday evening local time, apparently believing the protester had a gun.
No weapon was found, but Mr Trump’s social media manager and a member of his family both retweeted a post claiming the protester had attempted to kill the candidate.
Watch the full interview below:
CNN’s Tapper pushed Ms Conway on the issue, demanding to know why the campaign was spreading “misinformation”.
“This was not an assassination attempt,” Tapper said. “Why is your campaign spreading that it was?”
“It does remind you that in these closing days as the polls tighten … it’s a pretty fraught environment,” Ms Conway replied.
“He had canvassed for her and he had donated to his campaign. So this is a democratic plant or operative trying to disrupt our rally.”
However, Reuters has reported that the protester, Austyn Crites from Reno, was a registered Republican who was opposed to Mr Trump’s candidacy.
“I have nothing against Trump supporters,” Mr Crites was reported as saying in a CBS News interview.
“We are all registered Republicans and support many of the same candidates for local offices. I have serious concern against Trump,” said Mr Crites, who told The Guardian he had been a registered Republican for six years.
Conway weaves and dodges
Ms Conway also deflected questions about Mr Trump claiming the election was “rigged” after a campaign booth stayed open hours after closing time.
Under electoral law in the US, polls can stay open to accommodate voters already in line at the time of closing.
But Ms Conway said there were unverified reports Democratic voters were being “bused in” to key Democratic booths.
Hillary ran away from rain today. Trump is back on stage minutes after assassination attempt. pic.twitter.com/KjCmdnV5Hb
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) November 6, 2016
The interview concluded with Ms Conway accusing Tapper and CNN of bias against the Trump campaign, and of calling the election too early.
“Is CNN going to retract all the storylines, all the headlines, all the breathless predictions of the last two weeks that turned out not to be true?” Ms Conway asked.
“You guys retract that and I’ll give a call to (Trump aide) Dan Scavino about the retweet.”
“I’ve never reported anything along those lines,” Tapper responded.
Americans go to the polls on November 8.