Nadler considering holding Lewandowski in contempt

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he is considering moving to hold Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - Mask mandates, restrictions issued as COVID-19 spreads Trump shakes up campaign leadership, demotes Parscale Trump World boils over as campaign hits skids 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection 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 CicillineFive takeaways from Big Tech's blowout earnings What factors will shape Big Tech regulation? Hillicon Valley: House panel grills tech CEOs during much anticipated antitrust hearing | TikTok to make code public as it pushes back against 'misinformation' | House Intel panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence 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 SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign 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.