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Nadler considering holding Lewandowski in contempt

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerSenate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Black Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he is considering moving to hold Corey LewandowskiCorey LewandowskiPoll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Lewandowski says Trump has not spoken to him about being reinstated Sunday shows preview: Infrastructure expected to dominate as talks continue to drag 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) MuellerSenate 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 Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat 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 CicillineGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants Hillicon Valley: House targets tech giants with antitrust bills | Oversight chair presses JBS over payment to hackers | Trump spokesman to join tech company | YouTube suspends GOP senator House unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants 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 Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions 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.