RNA - During the hearing on Tuesday, Lewandowski — a former aide and confidant to Trump — praised his boss and repeatedly tangled with Democrats looking to confront him.
Lewandowski, who pledged in his opening statement to be cooperative and forthright, repeatedly refused to answer questions about conversations with the president and repeatedly pointed to White House claims of executive privilege — even though he never worked in the White House.
Lewandowski was the first impeachment witness to appear before the committee since former Special Counsel Robert Mueller briefed the committee about his inquiry.
Meuller’s investigation was focused on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Trump's potential obstruction of justice.
Trump had ordered two former White House aides not to testify before the committee.
“I think that this fake Russia collusion narrative is the greatest crime committed against the American people in our generation, if not ever,” Lewandowski said after a GOP member gave him the floor to describe the consequences of the Mueller probe. “Members of certain bodies refuse to accept those election results.”
Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) called Trump’s former campaign manager a “loyal soldier” who “chickened out” of carrying through with the president’s orders, while Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, claimed that the witness was there to “participate in a cover-up.”
Republicans on the panel described the hearing as both partisan and trivial.
At the end of the hearing, Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler censured Lewandowski and told the former Trump campaign manager that, “Your behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable.”
Nadler went on to say that, “It is a part of a pattern by a White House desperate not to reveal the truth. The president’s lawyers are sitting behind you right now to make sure that you do not answer us. Well, this committee is focused on the evidence of the potential corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power and exposing that misconduct is our top priority. Make no mistake; we will hold President Trump accountable.”
A redacted version of the report from Mueller about Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 US presidential election, subjecting Trump to more investigations than any president before him.
Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee plan to use new tactics to help lay out against Trump charges of obstruction of justice, allegations of campaign finance violations, witness tampering and unlawful self-enrichment through his business ventures.
Democrats aim to decide by the end of the year whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump to the full House. If approved by the chamber, the Republican-controlled Senate would be left to hold a trial and consider the president’s ouster.
Only two American presidents have been impeached by the House: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999. Neither was convicted by the Senate.
President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against him, but before the full House voted on the matter.