As part of its investigation into President Donald Trump’s conduct related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the House Judiciary Committee called Corey Lewandowski — a key witness in the probe’s report — for a hearing Tuesday afternoon.
But Lewandowski — the president’s former campaign manager known for aggressively manhandling a reporter in 2016 — was committed to making a mockery of the proceedings. The White House had said, on highly dubious legal grounds, that it was exerting privilege over Lewandowski’s communications with Trump and that he would only directly address matters already revealed in the Mueller report. He decided to follow this direction.
Lewandowski is under no obligation to follow this direction from the White House, though, and he is, meanwhile, legally obligated to comply with the committee’s subpoena for his testimony. But like so much under the administration, the Lewandowski fight is a stalling tactic, as the White House forces Democrats to go to war over every single move in its impeachment inquiry and turns the whole affair into a circus.
The former campaign manager was particularly disrespectful in an exchange with Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX). Lewandowski, who didn’t bring a copy of the report with him to testify, immediately began trolling the committee by asking to see the exact section of the report when lawmakers questioned him about specific events it describes. Images of the relevant parts of the report were also projected on a screen in the hearing room for his convenience.
Jackson-Lee focused on the incident in which Trump asked Lewandowski, not a member of his administration, to have then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the Mueller investigation in 2017. She asked whether he had been aware that, before Trump made this request of Lewandowski, the White House Counsel Don McGahn had refused to follow a similar order.
But Lewandowski acted as if he didn’t hear the clear question, and asked her to repeat it.
She did, and then Lewandowski rattled off a pre-written answer: “The White House has directed me that I not disclose the substance of any conversations with the president or his advisers.”
The lawmaker pursued forward with additional questions, but Lewandowski just tried to give his pre-written answer again. She cut him off, moving on to another question, but Lewandowski petulantly and ridiculously insisted that he be allowed to finish his pre-written response — one he had already given.
“Congresswoman, I’d be delighted to answer your question or you could just have a conversation by yourself, but if you’d like to ask me a question, I’ll be happy to answer it,” he said snidely.
“No, I’m going to continue, because —” she said.
“Well, then don’t ask me a question if you don’t want to hear my answer,” Lewandowski sneered. Again, he was demanding his right to give a legally dubious non-answer.
Jackson-Lee moved on to ask a question directly from the Mueller report, and instead of just answering directly, Lewandowski again acted like a stubborn child.
“What you’ve just read is not on the screen, congresswoman,” he said. When the image was projected on the screen, she asked him to read it, and he replied: “You’re welcome to read it, congresswoman.”
“Uh, you’re welcome to be stalling,” she said. “And I’m not going to be stalled. You either answer the question yes or no.”
He continued to be unresponsive, and Jackson-Lee lashed out: “You are obviously here to block any inquiry into the truth or not of this administration. … The president cannot hide behind you any longer, and you should be here to be telling the truth to this House committee because the truth will set you free and the American people!”
Watch a clip of the exchange below:
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 17, 2019
Internet recoils at Trump’s latest ‘insane’ news conference: ‘Maybe this guy shouldn’t be president’
President Donald Trump ranted at length about the Kurds, military deployments overseas, Sen. Lindsey Graham and former President Barack Obama in a bizarre conversation with reporters in the White House.
The president met with the media Wednesday afternoon during a bilateral meeting with Italian president Sergio Mattarella, and he touched on a bewildering variety of topics -- much to the confusion of onlookers.
This is fucking insane.
This press conference is purpose-built to empower and delight every bad actor in the world.
Biden finally unloads on Trump for smearing his son: ‘Release your tax returns or shut up’
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Wednesday blasted President Donald Trump for an ongoing attack on his son Hunter.
At a press conference in Ohio, Biden was asked if he had done enough to stop his son from taking a retainer from a company in Ukraine.
But the former vice president insisted that "corruption" in Trump's government should be the immediate focus.
"He is running the most corrupt government in the history of the United States of America," Biden charged. "He is running the most corrupt government in the history of the United States of America."
Biden then turned to the camera as if he were speaking directly to Trump.
Trump rants about Christopher Columbus during press conference with Italy’s president
President Donald Trump on Wednesday insisted that he would never stop celebrating Christopher Columbus.
"The United States and Italy are bound together by a shared cultural and political heritage dating back thousands of years to ancient Rome," Trump said during a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
"Over the centuries, the Italian people have blessed our civilization with magnificent works of art, science, philosophy, architecture, and music. On Monday, we paid tribute to the Italian explorer who led a voyage of discovery to the new world. A gentleman known as Christopher Columbus. To me, it will always be called Columbus Day. Some people don’t like that. I do."