Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is reportedly lessening the role of his embattled campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, after Lewandowski was slapped with a misdemeanor battery charge by Florida police for an alleged altercation with a female reporter last month at a campaign event.
Sources close to the campaign told POLITICO that Paul Manafort, Trump's newly named convention manager, is leading efforts in the selection of delegates and will play a crucial role in the remaining primary states.
This comes as Trump is being scrutinized throughout liberal and conservative circles for unapologetically defending defending Lewandowski even after police released surveillance video this week showing an interaction between the campaign manager, the former Breitbart reporter and Trump.
“I’m not saying Corey’s going to be fired or anything because I don’t think he’s going to be, at least not at this juncture,” an unnamed source from the campaign told POLITICO. “But Mr. Trump’s listening to other people now. The crew’s expanding. The inner circle is not what it used to be.”
Lewandowski’s control over the campaign initially began loosening when primary contests started in February. Sources in the campaign and friends of Trump told the publication there have been concerns about Lewandowski's temperament and that he has made it difficult for other campaign staff and Trump allies to communicate directly with the candidate.
Trump's reluctance to condemn Lewandowski's actions has triggered public attention to the relationship of his campaign with the media, women and violence at the front-runner’s rallies.
After police announced the charge, Trump said he told Lewandowski that he should “never settle that case” and accused the reporter of changing her story once video of the incident surfaced.