Nadler considering holding Lewandowski in contempt

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerREAD: White House letter refusing to participate in impeachment hearings White House tells Democrats it won't cooperate in impeachment hearings Democrat says he expects to oppose articles of impeachment against Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that he is considering moving to hold Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiGeorgia ready for unpredictable Senate race Trump on Harris dropping out of race: 'We will miss you Kamala!' Key takeaways from first public impeachment hearing 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 MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump 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 TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 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 CicillinePelosi to Democrats: 'Are you ready?' Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers Democrats set to open new chapter in impeachment 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 shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe 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.