Top Intel Democrat calls for subpoena of Lewandowski

Top Intel Democrat  calls for subpoena of Lewandowski

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday said Corey LewandowskiCorey LewandowskiPence fuels speculation of 2024 presidential bid Judge blocks Spicer, Vought bid to return to Naval Academy board New Trump super PAC formed after accusations of misconduct MORE selectively declined to answer questions about key events and conversations during his second interview before the panel.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House CIA says 'Havana syndrome' unlikely a result of 'worldwide campaign' by foreign power The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta MORE (D-Calif.) called on the majority to issue a subpoena on the former Trump campaign manager, stating it is unacceptable for a witness to refuse to answer particular questions that are relevant to their Russia probe. He warned the panel continues to set a "broader precedent" of noncompliance that could hobble future congressional investigations.

“Witnesses do not get to pick and choose when it comes to very relevant testimony to our investigation,” Schiff told reporters after the meeting ended.

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He said Lewandowski refused to answer a series of questions about key events, including Donald Trump Jr.Don TrumpRittenhouse to speak at Turning Point USA event White House calls Jan. 6 text revelations 'disappointing' Court orders release of some redacted passages of Mueller report MORE's initial misleading statement about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer and the firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillary 2024? Given the competition, she may be the Dems' best hope Trump draws attention with admission he 'fired Comey' Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE, as well as any conversations he may have had with the president about the potential firing of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE.

"They didn’t believe it was relevant and we emphasized it repeatedly that was not their determination to make," Schiff said in part.

"And of course, whether the administration knowingly made false statements about meetings with Russians is very relevant to our investigation, whether their actions taken to impede the investigation, obstruct the investigation is also very relevant so it was a meritless objection."

Lewandowski, who left the committee's closed spaces after roughly three hours — a short period compared to his last interview and appearances by other witnesses — said he answered "every question you can [imagine]."

"One thing is unequivocal: no collusion, no cooperation, no coordination," he added.

Lewandowski infuriated Democrats during his initial appearance before the committee in January by stating that he was not prepared to answer questions that related to anything after he left the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016.

Schiff said Lewandowski answered a “whole set of other questions concerning his time after the campaign," unlike the previous interview in January, when he told the committee he was "not prepared" to provide answers about his time after he left the campaign in June of 2016.

"I just spent 12 hours of my life I’ll never get back, think about that," Schiff said.

When asked whether he had communications with the White House before the interview, Lewandowski said, "No."

Lewandowski is just the latest in a string of witnesses who have refused to answer certain questions before the Intelligence Committee. Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and outgoing White House communications director Hope HicksHope HicksPennsylvania Republican David McCormick launches Senate campaign McCormick drawing support from Trump alumni ahead of Pennsylvania Senate bid Fauci on Fox's Jesse Watters: He 'should be fired on the spot' MORE, who followed President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE from the campaign trail to the West Wing, asserted some form of executive privilege during their interviews. 

Bannon refused to provide any answers outside of 25 White House-scripted questions in February. He appeared before the committee under a subpoena issued on the spot during his first interview.

Hicks, who appeared before the committee late last month, initially refused to answer questions about her time on the transition team. While she later agreed to answer questions about that time period, Democrats say she declined to answer questions about key events such as the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Democrats complain that the majority have so far failed to compel those witnesses to provide answers that are central to their investigation.

“Whether the committee will insist on getting answers, that is being taken under advisement by the majority — I think they are struggling to determine how, if at all, to distinguish between these witnesses. In our view, they all ought to be treated in the same way,” Schiff said.

The meeting with Lewandowski, which was repeatedly described by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as “tense” or “contentious,” was also described as “productive” in obtaining new information.