Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Tuesday mocked House Democrats for their impeachment investigation of President Trump and dismissed what he called the “fake Russian collusion narrative” in testimony to Congress.
Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Lewandowski extolled Trump for receiving “more votes than any candidate in the history of the Republican Party” while blasting Democrats for failing the American people.
“We as a nation would be better served if elected officials like you concentrated your efforts to combat the true crises facing our country as opposed to going down rabbit holes like this hearing,” said Lewandowski, a Windham resident, in his opening statement. “If instead of focusing on petty and personal politics, the committee focused on solving the challenges of this generation, imagine how many people we could help.”
House Democrats subpoenaed Lewandowski to testify about potential obstruction of justice episodes depicted in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election. According to the Mueller report, Trump personally asked Lewandowski to persuade then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the special counsel’s investigation.
But Lewandowski’s opening statement suggested what Democrats largely predicted: The 2016 campaign manager considering a U.S. Senate bid in New Hampshire has no intention of testifying against the President.
“It is now clear the (Mueller) investigation was populated by many Trump haters who had their own agenda — to try and take down a duly elected President of the United States,” he said. “As for actual ‘collusion,’ or ‘conspiracy,’ there was none. What there has been however, is harassment of the President from the day he won the election.”
Lewandowski testified that he did not recall any conversations with foreign entities.
“As I have said publicly many times, anyone who attempted to illegally impact the outcome of the election should spend the rest of their life in jail,” he said, later adding. “(A)s the special counsel determined, there was no conspiracy or collusion between the Trump campaign and any foreign government, either on my watch or afterward.”
Lewandowski had previewed the tone he would strike earlier in the day, tweeting that he was “excited” about a chance to defend the President in front of what he characterized as “angry Democrats.”
“#Senate2020,” Lewandowski added, referencing his consideration of a challenge next year to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.
If he enters the race, Lewandowski would be one of four Republicans vying for the chance to take on Shaheen. He would join retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, retired attorney Corky Messner and former Speaker of the New Hampshire House Bill O’Brien. All four men have said they support the President.
Paperwork was filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission creating a super PAC, Stand With Corey, in support of a Lewandowski Senate run.
During a visit to New Hampshire last month, Trump touted the possibility of a Lewandowski candidacy in New Hampshire, calling his former aide “a fantastic guy” who “would be a great senator.”
The White House, in a letter Monday, told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., that Lewandowski is not allowed to answer any questions about his communications with the President beyond what was in the Mueller report.
“Mr. Lewandowski will testify before Congress regarding matters already made public in the Mueller report,” deputy White House press secretary Steven Groves said in a statement Tuesday. “Any information about his communications with the President or with senior advisers to the President not already disclosed in the Mueller report, however, remains confidential. Congress cannot compel disclosure of the substance of those communications, and Mr. Lewandowski has been directed not to testify about them.”
Nadler called the White House’s efforts to restrict testimony “a shocking and dangerous assertion of executive privilege and absolute immunity.”
“The President would have us believe that he can willfully engage in criminal activity and prevent witnesses from testifying before Congress — even if they did not actually work for him or his administration,” he said in a statement Monday.