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A House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski fell into chaos Tuesday when Lewandowski refused to answer questions without a copy of the Mueller report.
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler kicked off the first round of questioning in the House Democrats’ impeachment probe into President Donald Trump by asking Lewandowski if he met with the president on a specific date in 2017.
However, the White House had previously instructed Lewandowski not to speak outside of the Mueller report or disclose information about conversations he had with the president.
Instead of directly answering Nadler’s question, Lewandowski asked for a copy of the Mueller report to reference. House members then debated whether or not Nadler’s five-minute time limit on questions should be stopped while staffers procured a copy of the report.
“Once you have asked the question, the clock should start,” Ranking Member Doug Collins asserted. “He cannot be held while you and your counsel go over notes.”
When Lewandowski finally received a copy of the Mueller report, he demanded to know which page, which paragraph, and which line he could reference in relation to Nadler’s question. Lewandowski declined to answer Nadler’s further questions as well, stalling by reading the White House’s letter indicating limits on his testimony.
The hearing continued to devolve as Ranking Member Collins and Nadler debated committee procedure, ultimately leading to a roll call vote on whether or not the hearing should be adjourned entirely. The vote failed.
In his opening statement, Lewandowski railed against the Trump investigations.
“It is now clear the investigation was populated by many Trump haters who had their own agenda – to try and take down a duly elected president of the United States,” he said. “As for actual collusion or conspiracy, there was none. What there has been, however, is harassment of this president from the day he won the election.”
The president was apparently watching, and tweeted: “Such a beautiful Opening Statement by Corey Lewandowski! Thank you Corey!”
Such a beautiful Opening Statement by Corey Lewandowski! Thank you Corey! @CLewandowski_
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2019