The House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing against President Donald Trump has concluded on a combative note after six hours of testimony from Corey Lewandowski.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York gaveled the proceedings closed Tuesday after Republicans refused to offer up a staff member to question Trump's former campaign chairman. Ranking Republican Doug Collins started to do so, but Nadler noted that Collins is a member of Congress, not a staff member. The proceedings ended with Collins refusing to yield to a staff questioner and vowing to "litigate" the GOP's case in other ways.
The closing squabble came after committee counsel Barry H. Berke sharply challenged Lewandowski on why he did not carry out Trump's directive to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage him to reverse himself and oversee the Russia investigation.
Corey Lewandowski is confirming that President Donald Trump asked him to urge Jeff Sessions to reverse himself and oversee the Russia investigation. Lewandowski never delivered that message, but he told the House Judiciary Committee that Trump didn't ask him to break the law.
He said, "I didn't think the president asked me to do anything illegal." Under questioning later by Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson, Lewandowski confirmed as "accurate" that Trump had asked him to deliver the message.
Asked why, according to the Mueller report, he never delivered the message to Sessions as instructed, Lewandowski answered that he had taken his kids to the beach.
Lewandowski never worked for Trump in the White House but remained a confidant.
The questioning came as the Democratic-led panel conducted its first impeachment hearing.
President Donald Trump is watching former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski testify before the House's first impeachment hearings.
Lewandowski wasn't answering questions that aren't already answered in the Mueller report on election interference. Democrats were frustrated and the Judiciary Committee hearing immediately devolved into chaos.
Trump tweeted from Air Force One: "Such a beautiful Opening Statement by Corey Lewandowski! Thank you Corey!"
But Democrats complained that Lewandowski was giving no answers and instead filibustering. Ranking Republican Doug Collins noted that filibustering, or unlimited talk, is the province of the Senate, not the House.
The White House sent Nadler a letter late Monday saying that Lewandowski was not allowed to discuss his conversations with President Donald Trump beyond what is already public in former special counsel Robert Mueller's report. Nadler disputes that.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is charging that House Democrats are "going down rabbit holes" and "focusing on petty and personal politics" as he is testifying at what the committee is calling its first impeachment hearing.
Lewandowski says that investigations of President Donald Trump have been "populated by many Trump haters who had their own agenda - to take down a duly elected President of the United States."
House Democrats have called in Lewandowski to testify about former special counsel Robert Mueller's report. Mueller's investigators detailed episodes in which Trump asked Lewandowski to direct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit Mueller's investigation. Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice.
Lewandowski said there's been "harassment of the president from the day he won the election."
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski "remains obligated" to answer the committee's questions despite a White House order that he not discuss his confidential conversations with the president.
Lewandowski is testifying at the committee's first official hearing in what the panel is calling an impeachment investigation. The White House sent Nadler a letter late Monday saying that Lewandowski was not allowed to discuss his conversations with President Donald Trump beyond what is already public in former special counsel Robert Mueller's report.
Nadler said in a letter back to the White House on Tuesday that Nadler must answer questions because the committee has subpoenaed him.
Mueller's investigators detailed two episodes in which Trump asked Lewandowski to direct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit Mueller's investigation.
As they investigate President Donald Trump, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will hold their first official hearing in what they are calling an impeachment investigation.
Trump's outspoken former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is scheduled to appear Tuesday to discuss the special counsel's report on Russia's election interference.
Lewandowski is a close friend and supporter of the president and isn't expected to elaborate much beyond what he told the special counsel's investigators last year. Two former White House aides who were subpoenaed alongside Lewandowski won't show up at all, on orders from the White House.
The hearing underscores what has been a central dilemma for House Democrats all year: They have promised to investigate Trump, aggressively, but the White House has blocked their oversight requests at most every turn.
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