Former Trump campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiTrump on Harris dropping out of race: 'We will miss you Kamala!' Key takeaways from first public impeachment hearing Democrats face make-or-break moment on impeachment MORE refused to answer on Tuesday when a Democratic lawmaker pressed him on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrumps light 97th annual National Christmas Tree Trump to hold campaign rally in Michigan 'Don't mess with Mama': Pelosi's daughter tweets support following press conference comments MORE had ever dangled a pardon to persuade him not to cooperate with the now-shuttered special counsel probe.

During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Lewandowski cited executive privilege and refused to describe his conversations with the president after Rep. Mary Gay ScanlonMary Gay ScanlonOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Buttigieg targets Warren, Sanders on health care ahead of debate | Judge overturns ObamaCare transgender protections | Poll sees support drop for 'Medicare for All' Lewandowski refuses to say whether Trump has offered him a pardon Four House Judiciary members say they will 'move forward' with impeachment MORE (D-Pa.) questioned whether Trump had pressured him to refuse cooperation as he had reportedly done with Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortGiuliani meets with fired Ukrainian prosecutor who pushed Biden, 2016 claims: report Top State Department official tells senators he has not seen evidence of Ukrainian interference Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe MORE, his former campaign chairman.


"Did the president ever try to discourage you from speaking with the special counsel, Mr. Lewandowski?" Scanlon asked.

"I can't speak to any private conversation I may or may not have had with the president other than to say I've always been told to tell the truth," he responded.

"OK. So you're not going to tell us today whether he ever instructed you not to cooperate with the special counsel?" she asked again.

"I've never been instructed to do anything but tell the truth," Lewandowski replied.

Scanlon listed a number of Trump officials who she said had reportedly been offered pardons in the face of potential charges, including Manafort, Richard Gates, and others.

"Has the president ever offered you a pardon?" she asked.

"Again, the White House has directed I not disclose the substance of any conversation I've had with the president or his advisers," he responded.

Democrats have sharply criticized the White House following a letter from the Trump administration Monday night restricting Lewandowski, who never held an official role in the White House, and other witnesses from describing any conversations they had with Trump or his advisers.

"Mr. Lewandowski's conversations with the President and with senior advisers to the President are protected from disclosure by long-settled principles protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests and, as a result, the White House has directed Mr. Lewandowski not to provide information about such communications beyond the information provided in the portions of the Report that have already been disclosed to the Committee," White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTurley: Democrats offering passion over proof in Trump impeachment GOP lawmaker: 'Amazing' Democrats would ask if Founding Fathers would back Trump impeachment Trump asks if Democrats 'love our country' amid ongoing impeachment hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) called the move a breach of the separation of powers and indicated that it could affect the committee's consideration of articles of impeachment.

"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," Nadler said in a statement on Monday night. "If he were to prevail in this cover-up while the Judiciary Committee is considering whether to recommend articles of impeachment, he would upend the separation of powers as envisioned by our founders."