House chairman asks CDC director to testify on reopening schools during pandemic
Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski suggested Tuesday that he was under no obligation to be truthful to members of the news media after House Democrats pressed him on his past remarks on national television.
House Judiciary Committee counsel Barry Berke questioned Lewandowski during a hearing on why Lewandowski had told NBC's "Meet the Press" early last year that he had not been asked to give testimony for former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Nobody in front of Congress has ever lied to the public before. I'm sorry," Lewandowski said sarcastically when asked about remarks he made on national television.
When pressed by the counsel, Lewandowski quickly added that he did not believe he had lied during TV interviews, including with NBC, but would only say definitively that he had never lied when under oath to various congressional committees.
"When under oath, I have always told the truth," he said.
Pressed further on whether he had lied in news interviews, Lewandowski responded, "I don't know."
Lewandowski was also pressed about remarks he made during an interview this past February with MSNBC's Ari Melber.
"I don't ever remember the president ever asking me to get involved with [former Attorney General] Jeff Sessions or with the Department of Justice in any way, shape or form, ever," Lewandowski had said in the interview.
"That was not true, was it?" Berke asked Lewandowski on Tuesday.
"I have no obligation to be honest to the media," Lewandowski responded. "They're just as dishonest as anybody else."
The former Trump campaign manager's hearing Tuesday before the Judiciary panel ended with the committee's chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), threatening to hold Lewandowski in contempt for refusing to answer the committee's questions about conversations he had with Trump or members of the White House staff.
The back-and-forth with Berke, who asked questions on behalf of the panel's Democrats, was praised by some on social media for its effectiveness in drilling down details from a congressional witness.
Tuesday marked the first hearing where Judiciary staff could question witnesses under the committee's newly adopted procedures.
Republicans declined to have staff do questioning, protesting the new powers.
Berke questioned Lewandowski after all members finished with their own questions.
For his part, Lewandowski on Tuesday tore into Democrats on the panel for what he said was a multiyear effort to bring down a duly elected president.
"Sadly, the country spent over three years and 40 million taxpayer dollars on these 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 in his opening statement.
"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 continued.
Olivia Beavers contributed
Updated: 9:10 p.m.