The White House told Corey Lewandowski, President Trump's onetime campaign manager, not to testify about any discussions with Trump or his advisers when he appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The intention is "to protect executive branch confidentiality," said Lewandowski, who never worked in the White House. "I recognize this is not my privilege," he told the committee, "but I am respecting the White House’s decision." White House lawyers took seats behind Lewandowski for the hearing, the BBC reports, and Lewandowski stuck to the script—or lack of one. That frustrated Democrats gathering information about whether to draft articles of impeachment against Trump and potential obstruction of justice referred to in the Mueller report into Russian interference in the 2016 election, per the Washington Post. It pleased the president, who tweeted "Thank you Corey!" for his "beautiful" opening statement.
A "contempt" suggestion was made by a lawmaker, and Lewandowski seemed to return the sentiment. The exchanges included:
- Asked by Rep. Eric Swalwell to read the evidence he gave from the Mueller report, Lewandowski mocked his questioner as "President Swalwell."
- When Rep. Jamie Raskin said the tooth fairy isn't real, Lewandowski said, "My children are watching, so thank you for that."
- "He's filibustering," Chairman Jerry Nadler said when Lewandowski demanded a copy of the Mueller Report, per Fox.
- As Lewandowski talked over her, Rep. Pramila Jayapal yelled, "This is my time!" She added: "You are a witness before the Judiciary Committee. Please act like it!"
- Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, whose question he had called a "rant," admonished Lewandowski as well: "This is the House Judiciary Committee! Not a house party!"
- Lewandowski is reportedly thinking about running for the Senate from New Hampshire next year and, during a break in the hearing, tweeted a link to his website where supporters can sign up to help, per the Hill. "You are not on the campaign trail yet," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told him.
The White House had invoked executive privilege Monday night to cover two presidential aides who were to testify Tuesday, Rob Porter and Pat Cipollone. Neither showed up for the hearing. "This is a cover-up, plain and simple," Nadler said. (Read more Corey Lewandowski