Nadler considering holding Lewandowski in contempt

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he is considering moving to hold Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiLewandowski decides against Senate bid Georgia ready for unpredictable Senate race Trump on Harris dropping out of race: 'We will miss you Kamala!' MORE in contempt after the former Trump campaign chairman declined to answer a series of questions related to his appearances in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's report.

"Mr. Lewandowski, your behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable. It is part of a pattern of a White House desperate for the American people not to hear the truth," Nadler said after committee members concluded their questioning.

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"I’ve been asked several times today whether the committee will hold you in contempt. It is certainly under consideration," Nadler said, to which Lewandowski raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips.

But despite the frustration that steamed from the Judiciary hearing room, Democrats say their real focus is on the man in the Oval Office.

Nadler telegraphed this outlook by describing the White House limiting Lewandowski's testimony as "a far more troubling contempt on display today."

"There is a far more troubling contempt on display today, and that is President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE’s role in your refusal to answer questions," Nadler said. "The pattern of obstruction laid out in the Mueller report has not stopped."

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineLiving in limbo may end for Liberians in the US Five tech stories to watch in 2020 Democratic senators tweet photos of pile of House-passed bills 'dead on Mitch McConnell's desk' MORE (D-R.I.) first proposed holding Lewandowski in contempt during the hearing. Other members also voiced support for such a move.

The remarks came after Democrats tussled for more than five hours with Lewandowski over his involvement in a possible obstruction episode as laid out in Mueller's report. In particular, they sought to have the longtime Trump ally answer questions about Trump asking Lewandowski to pass along a message to then-Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report Bottom Line DOJ inquiry tied to Clinton, touted by Trump winds down with no tangible results: report MORE in 2017 that urged him to reverse his recusal and set limits on the Russia probe.

Lewandowski ultimately turned to then-White House official Rick Dearborn to deliver the letter. Dearborn did not ultimately follow through, telling investigators that the request made him uncomfortable. 

While the White House made the unprecedented step late Monday night in seeking to limit the testimony of Lewandowski by claiming discussions outside what is laid out in the Mueller report fall under "Executive Branch confidentiality interests," Lewandowski went further and declined to answer questions about his conversations with the president, which he claimed were also privileged. 

Democrats and legal experts have refuted this claim, stating that Lewandowski did not work in the White House and is therefore outside the claims of executive privilege.

The Trump administration also blocked former White House aides Rob Porter and Dearborn from testifying, citing claims of immunity, a move that follows the administration's game plan of blocking the testimony of former and current administration officials. House Democrats are seeking to challenge the White House claims of immunity in court.

The hearing, which quickly devolved into chaos, did not yield new information for Democrats, who are conducting a sprawling investigation into obstruction, public corruption and other abuses of power.