Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager and close confidant, on Tuesday vigorously defended his former boss and lashed out at Democrats but repeatedly avoided answering their questions during a chaotic hearing before a U.S. congressional panel considering whether to impeach Trump.
Roger Fortuna reports.
US NETWORK POOL: BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~ **BROADCASTERS: NO USE.
DIGITAL: NO USE AUSTRALIA BROADCASTERS.
NO USE ABC, CNN, FOX, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO, BBC AMERICA, NBC.
VIDEO MUST BE USED IN ITS ENTIRETY.
EXISTING GRAPHICS MAY BE OVERWRITTEN BY CLIENT'S OWN GRAPHICS BUT NO FURTHER EDITS ARE PERMITTED, INCLUDING FOR LENGTH** COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER (ENGLISH) (soundbite) "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.
President Trump's former campaign manager and close confidant, Corey Lewandowski, delivering heated new testimony before a House panel on Tuesday.
The latest turn in what Democrats are now openly calling their impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.
JERROLD NADLER (D-NY), CHAIR HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE (ENGLISH) (soundbite) "Mr. Lewandowski is here and has vital information about presidential obstruction of justice.
But the White House wants to limit our and your ability to hear it all.
We will not be daunted by the cover up.
We intend to secure accountability for any wrongdoing." Appearing under a House subpoena, Lewandowski faced off with the Democrat-led Judiciary Committee….
Democrats wanted him to discuss material from former special counsel Robert Muller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which detailed possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
Focusing their grilling on an effort by Trump to persuade then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shift Mueller's focus from Trump himself to future U.S. elections.
Lewandowski confirmed that in June of 2017 he was recruited by Trump in an attempt to redirect the Mueller investigation, and to tell Sessions he would be fired if the former attorney general refused to do so.
STEVEN COHEN (D-TN) "You didn't think it was illegal for you to ask Mr. Sessions to drop the investigation?
You didn't think that was illegal to obstruct justice?" COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER (ENGLISH) (soundbite) "Congressman, the president didn't ask me to do anything illegal." REP.
SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX) "If the president thought what he was doing was legal, why didn't he just pick up the phone and Attorney General Sessions?" COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER (ENGLISH) (soundbite) "I believe he asked me to deliver a message for Jeff to consider delivering himself." But Lewandowski also reiterated that he never communicated either message to Sessions.
HANK JOHNSON (D-GA) (ENGLISH) (soundbite) "Why did it take you so long and you never even delivered it?" COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER "Correct, I never delivered the message.
HANK JOHNSON (D-GA) "Yeah, you chickened out." COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER "I went on vacation." And as expected, Republicans on the committee lined up behind Lewandowski and the president and against the impeachment investigation, echoing Trump's characterization of Muller's report as one-sided and inaccurate.
DOUG COLLINS (R-GA) RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE (ENGLISH) (soundbite) "We had Mr. Mueller here.
Had a long day of it.
Judging by all accounts it didn't go very well." Mueller made no determination about whether Trump obstructed justice, but did not exonerate him of possible wrongdoing.