House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated that Corey Lewandowski should have been held in contempt “right then and there” for declining to contribute to the Democratic hearing a day before, The Hill reported.
Pelosi expressed her frustration in a meeting with Democratic lawmakers, stating that President Trump’s former campaign manager was attempting to avoid to give answers to questions “about his alleged role in the president’s efforts to obstruct former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and used the hearing as a platform to promote his Senate campaign.”
Ashley Etienne, spokeswoman for Pelosi, reported that during the meeting “a member commented on the level of disrespect that Lewandowski displayed at the hearing for the committee and Congress’s authority to uncover the truth. Speaker Pelosi agreed that his behavior was beyond the pale and contemptible.”
“The Speaker went on to say that he could have been held in contempt right then and there,” Etienne added, noting that Pelosi felt similarly about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s behavior during his confirmation hearing last year.
“Her comments were a critique of the witnesses’ behavior, not the handling of these hearings,” Etienne said.
According to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, after the more than five-hour hearing that he was considering moving to hold Lewandowski in contempt.
“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.
During the hearing, Rep. David Cicilline proposed holding Lewandowski in contempt. Other Democrats expressed support for the idea as well.
But the committee did not move immediately to hold Lewandowski in contempt. Democrats tried to press Lewandowski on Trump allegedly asking him to pass along a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017 urging him to reverse his recusal from the investigation into Russia’s election interference.
Lewandowski turned to then-White House official Rick Dearborn to deliver the message, but Dearborn did not follow through. Dearborn told investigators that the request made him uncomfortable.
Pelosi’s comments came as some Democrats expressed disappointment that the hearing quickly devolved into a circus and didn’t offer the fact-finding narrative of the Mueller report that they had hoped for. Others, however, argued that it demonstrated the depth of the White House’s efforts to stonewall their investigations.