A campaign staffer was arrested just days before the release of an undercover expose which showed him making incendiary remarks about supporters of President Donald Trump and suggesting violence would erupt on the streets if Sen. Bernie Sanders failed to take the White House in 2020,
Kyle Jurek, the Sanders campaign field organizer at the center of the controversy, was arrested most recently on Jan. 7 for driving while intoxicated, violating probation, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to Polk County, Iowa authorities.
Videos released this week by right-wing activist group Project Veritas showed Jurek downplaying the horror of Joseph Stalin’s forced labor camps, suggesting Sanders’ “free education” platform is aimed at “de-Nazifying” Trump supporters and saying billionaires should be thrown into gulags to make them empathize with the “working class.”
Footage released Thursday by Project Veritas showed Jurek claiming that the Sanders’ campaign’s Iowa regional field director had bailed him out of jail following a recent drug arrest.
Jurke was released on bail for the Jan. 7 arrest on Monday, according to Project Veritas.
In another video, Project Veritas claims to have received anonymous tips from people who know Jurek.
According to Project Veritas, Jurek’s acquaintances say they are concerned that he is becoming more radicalized and worried “he might try to assassinate President Trump.”
Other anonymous sources told Project Veritas that the Sanders campaign’s Iowa state director was aware of Jurek’s radical leanings and should not have hired him.
The additional footage also shows Jurek making incendiary remarks to an undercover Project Veritas journalist.
“I’m all aboard for gulags. I feel there needs to be re-education for a significant portion of our society,” Jurek says in the new video.
Jurek is also heard defending Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s killing of Cuban citizens, saying the communist revolutionaries only killed people who “were fighting against the revolution.”
Kyle Jurek, 38, was arrested last week in Iowa & charged w/drunk driving, possessing drug paraphernalia & more. Jurek is a field organizer for Sanders campaign. He was recorded by @Project_Veritas calling for political violence. #AntifaMugshots. More info: https://t.co/RKQXWLL2Rd pic.twitter.com/gYtUwHzLhA
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) January 14, 2020
Founded by activist James O’Keefe, Project Veritas uses the techniques of undercover journalism to expose alleged liberal bias and corruption. The group has had a major political impact, including helping to shut down ACORN in 2010. But it has also been caught making false claims and using deceptive tactics.
Bernie under fire
Project Veritas’ expose comes amid an onslaught of negative publicity for Sanders, who has been plagued by “sexism” allegations after reports surfaced that he told Sen. Elizabeth Warren 2018 meeting that he did not believe a woman could win the 2020 presidential race.
Warren, who on Monday confirmed the veracity of the reports, appeared to snub a handshake from Sanders on Tuesday night at the conclusion of the Democratic debate in Iowa.
The debate had already ended, but the two senators appeared to have a heated exchange while fellow 2020 presidential candidate Tom Steyer hovered nearby.
“I was really just trying to say goodnight to both of them,” Steyer told reporters. “I think they were trying to figure out something between the two of them, but I didn’t really hear what it was.”
During a CNN appearance later on in the night, Steyer characterized the incident as “awkward.”
“It was one of those awkward moments where I felt like, ‘I need to move on as fast as possible,’” he said.
During the debate, Des Moines Register political correspondent Brianne Pfannenstiel asked Sanders to confirm or deny reports that he’d told Warren a woman could not take the White House in 2020.
Sanders issued an outright denial.
Pfannenstiel asked Sanders again to confirm reports that he’d never “told Sen. Warren that a woman could not win the election.”
“That is correct,” Sanders said.
Pfannensteil immediately turned to Warren and drew a laugh from the audience by appearing to take Warren’s side.
“Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” Pfannensteil said.
“I disagreed,” Warren replied.