The House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing as part of its senseless Trump impeachment investigation suffered a bizarre meltdown as Democrats, led by Jerrold Nadler, failed to handle even their first witness.
Democrats went back and forth with former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who gave them the run around and led to a clearly frustrated Nadler.
After five incredible hours of testimony before lawmakers, Nadler desperately told Lewandowski his “behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable,” and said holding him “in contempt” is “certainly under consideration.”
Asked by Nadler if he met alone with President Donald Trump in June 2017, Lewandowski said, “Could you read the exact language of the report? I don’t have it available to me.”
“I don’t think I need to do that,” Nadler growled. “I have limited time.”
Asked the question again, Lewandowski told Nadler he needed him to “refresh” his memory of what was in the report. He demanded that Democrats provide him a copy of the report, sending Democratic staff scrambling to find one.
“He’s filibustering,” a frustrated Nadler said.
Lewandowski later declined to play along with certain questions. New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries asked Lewandowski if he was Trump’s “hitman, the bag man, the lookout, or all of the above?”
“I think I’m the good-looking man, actually,” Lewandowski replied.
The committee failed to reign in two other former Trump aides – Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter — who did not show up on orders from the administration. Which really ticked off Nadler.
“This is a cover-up, plain and simple,” Nadler complained about the White House’s efforts to block testimony from Dearborn and Porter.
In his opening statement, Lewandowski railed against the Trump investigations.
“It is now clear the 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 this president from the day he won the election.”
The omni-present president tweeted: “Such a beautiful Opening Statement by Corey Lewandowski! Thank you, Corey!”
Meanwhile, Republicans mocked the hearing, with a fired-up ranking member Collins dismissing it as “re-run season,” saying the committee’s previous hearing with Mueller didn’t “go well.” Collins dismissed the Democrats’ effort to seek impeachment, saying, “You don’t have the votes.”
After lawmakers finished their inquiries Tuesday, Lewandowski was questioned into the early evening by Democratic counsel Barry Berke. Republicans on the committee decried the move of bringing in Berke, who was hired as a consultant and is not on the committee staff.
“This move to have private consultants question a witness during an oversight hearing is an egregious violation of the Rules of the House and pretends that the Judiciary Committee’s Article I oversight authority extends to private attorneys when it doesn’t,” Collins said in a statement. “I cannot believe that Judiciary Democrats are outsourcing their pseudo-impeachment inquiry to paid consultants.”
The hearing underscores an ongoing struggle for Democrats which has seen them dump all of their focus into investigating and impeaching Trump to no avail.
Moderate Democrats in their own caucus have expressed nervousness that the impeachment push could crowd out their other ‘accomplishments’.