BuzzFeed reporter Michael Hastings says Chicago's in-your-face Mayor Rahm Emanuel grabbed him during an interview in Chicago, and an audio tape of the November exchange was aired on Current TV
Hastings, author the famous 2010 Rolling Stone's profile of U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, said Emanuel "grabbed me by the arm and wouldn’t let go while his bodyguards approached me."
According to Hastings, here's how the exchange went down:
Emanuel became agitated after Hastings laughed at Emanuel's assertion that the president [Barack Obama] was worth re-electing and said "we'll see."
Emanuel, flanked by two large security guards, then got into Hastings face saying, "Hey . . . What was that? . . What'd you just say to me?"
Hastings attempt to respond was interrupted by Emanuel, who said, "I’m not going to let you do to me what you did to Stanley McChrystal."
What followed was a brief exchange about military deaths in Afghanistan before Emanuel apparently walked off.
"I never experienced anything like this in my career from an American public official," Hastings said in Thursday's interview on "The Young Turks" on Current TV. "He grabbed me — right before that exchange, he grabbed me by the arm and wouldn’t let go while his bodyguards approached me, clearly trying to intimidate me with a threat of physical violence. And look, it was abusive. I don’t mind being yelled at, like verbally abusive, fine. But I think the mayor — and I made this point in an email later to his staff, clearly crossed the line by grabbing me.”
"I've interviewed terrorist leaders, I've interviewed dictators, I've interviewed a lot of politicians, I've interviewed a lot of angry people, but none have ever laid a hand on me," Hastings continued. "I was really quite surprised and to be honest shocked by the fact that he would do that. What I saw in his eyes when he was doing this was just, he did not seem like a gentleman who was in full control of what he was doing."
Hastings added that at the time he considered filing an assault charge against Emanuel but didn't pursue one because of his work schedule.
Hastings concluded the interview saying, "It's a very revealing moment of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He is obviously a high-profile public official. He is notorious for this kind of abusive and bullying behavior and he gets away with it, again, and again, and again. And rarely is there a record of it."
Earlier in January, Hasting's published the book "Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Obama’s Final Campaign" and it contains the exchange with Emanuel.
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