Throughout the hours-long “impeachment hearing,” Democratic members accused Lewandowski, who spoke extremely fondly of the president in his testimony, of “aiding” Trump in obstructing congressional oversight. Lawmakers, such as Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), referred to one of the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon as example to how his testimony — or lack thereof — could be a significant determinant of whether Trump should be removed from office.
“Mr. Lewandowski, when you refuse to answer these questions, you are obstructing the work of our committee. You are also proving our point for the American people to see — the President is intent on obstructing our legitimate oversight,” Nadler told Lewandowski as White House lawyers sat directly behind him. “You are aiding him in that obstruction. And I will remind you that Article 3 of the impeachment against President Nixon was based on obstruction of Congress. You are instructed to answer the questions.”
In closing remarks, Nadler said there was a possibility action may be taken by the panel at a later date to hold Lewandowski in contempt of Congress for not adhering to his subpoena and properly answering questions.
“I’ve been asked several times today whether the committee will hold you in contempt. It is certainly under consideration,” he added.
Lewandowski advised lawmakers — unsurprisingly, because the same has been done with several other former Trump associates and aides — that the “White House has directed me not to disclose any conversations I’ve had with the president.” The committee was notified Monday evening in letters from the White House counsel that Lewandowski was directed not to provide any information outside the four corners of the Mueller Report.
“Obstruction, obstruction, obstruction,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told Newsweek on Lewandowski’s refusal to answer questions. “He was never on the president’s payroll; he can’t claim executive privilege for somebody who never even was a staff member for you. That’s ridiculous. And it is a total abuse of power. We’re investigating three things: obstruction, corruption and abuse of power. You saw obstruction and abuse of power — clearly — in this hearing today.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) labeled Lewandowski’s hearing as “a joke.”
“It’s becoming a serious problem for us that the White House has ordered absolute defiance and obstruction of our investigation,” he added. “So, we really have to figure out how to how to deal with that.”
Judiciary members were also told by the White House Monday evening that Rick Dearborn, former White House deputy chief of staff for policy, and Rob Porter, former White House staff secretary, were directed not to comply with subpoenas and provide testimony because of executive privilege.
According to the Mueller Report, Dearborn was asked by Lewandowski to deliver the message from Trump to Sessions. Neither Dearborn nor Lewandowski ever relayed the message. At the direction of Trump, Porter told former White House counsel Don McGahn to create a false record showing Trump never asked McGahn to fire Mueller. McGahn refused, threatening to resign.
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