Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump accused Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields of fabricating her accusation that his campaign manager grabbed her hard enough to leave a bruise during a campaign event.Trump told reporters after Thursday night’s GOP debate in Miami that nothing happened.
“Perhaps she made the story up. I think that’s what happened,” he said of Tuesday night’s alleged incident.
“I believe I was in the middle of a lot of Secret Service agents, and they all said that they never saw anything,” Trump said. “And these are very honorable guys, they’re fantastic people, and there were a lot of them and nobody saw anything, and to the best of my knowledge there’s no pictures.”
Police confirmed Fields has filed a criminal complaint against Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, whom she alleges grabbed her arm aggressively as she attempted to question the candidate.
Video of the moment, which another journalist - the Washington Post’s Ben Terris - confirmed to NBC News was the time of the alleged incident, shows a partial view of Fields approaching Trump. Her progress stops, but the video does not clearly establish whether Lewandowski or another person made physical contact with her.
Breitbart also published images questioning whether Terris misidentified Lewandowski as the person who may have physically halted Fields’ progress.
Fields wrote an account of the incident. Politico published an audio transcript that purportedly captures the interaction and moments immediately afterward when Terris claims it was Lewandowski who committed the alleged assault.
The Trump campaign manager attacked Fields in a series of tweets, calling her an “attention” seeker — which prompted the journalist to tweet a picture of her bruised arm.
Lewandowski later continued to tweet about Fields, calling her an “attention seeker” and questioning her journalistic integrity.
Trump’s campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks also cast aspersions on Fields’ reporting, saying in a statement that the Breitbart reporter had “never met” Lewandowski.
After that statement, Breitbart said it was “disappointed” in the campaign’s response and “in particular their effort to demean” Fields’ previous reporting.
“We stand behind her reporting, her techniques, and call again on Corey Lewandowski to apologize,” the conservative news site’s CEO Larry Solov said in a statement.
While the Trump campaign publicly slammed the allegations, a source with knowledge of the campaign says they came as no surprise.
“Corey has always had an extremely aggressive and contentious relationship with the media,” the source said. “We’ve known his irrational anger could be a liability but we’ve crossed our fingers that something over the top like this would not happen.”
The Fields incident came a week after a Time magazine photographer was thrown to the floor by a Secret Service agent at another Trump rally.
This article first appeared on NBCNews.com.