Today was Day One of the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment proceedings against President Trump and it can only be described as a trip down the rabbit hole. The hearing was entitled “Presidential Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power.”
A defiant Corey Lewandowski gave Committee chair Jerry Nadler and the rest of the Democratic members of the committee the respect they deserved – that is to say, very little. He asked for statements to be repeated, for a copy of the report and he refused to answer many their questions. In fact, he behaved a bit like Robert Mueller had during his testimony in July.
The hearing quickly took on a circus-like feel leading several Democrats, including Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) to threaten to hold Lewandowski in contempt, claiming he was trying to obstruct their investigation. Cicilline told him, “You’re not going to stonewall me and my questioning!” And a very frustrated Nadler called Lewandowski’s behavior “unacceptable” and is said to be considering holding him in contempt. He must have felt very powerless today.
Nadler had subpoenaed three witnesses including Rick Dearborn, Rob Porter, and Trump’s former campaign manager and aide, Corey Lewandowski. In his opening statement, Nadler said, “Unfortunately, we learned last night that the White House is blocking the first two from even showing up, and tightly limiting the third. The White House has no authority, legal or otherwise, to give these orders.”
He claimed that “in at least five episodes, evidence laid out in the Special Counsel report established that all the elements of obstruction of justice were met.”
If that were true, the Mueller team would have recommended charges.
Nadler said he would start with one of the most concerning ones. “It is the President ordering the Attorney General, through Mr. Lewandowski, to stop the Special Counsel’s investigation into the president and his campaign.”
The brief video below will give you an idea of the atmosphere inside the chamber.
Lewandowski’s derisive demeanor antagonized the House Dems and made for some fiery exchanges. One of the more memorable of those came when Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) asked Lewandowski to read the words Trump had dictated to him on July 17, 2017. Lewandowski refused to comply and, to the amusement of the Republicans in the room, repeatedly called him “President Swalwell.” That exchange can be viewed in the tweet below.
Everything about this back and forth between Swalwell and Lewandowski is amazing but Lewandowski repeatedly calling him "President Swalwell" is *chef's kiss* pic.twitter.com/456pbDer2d
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) September 17, 2019
Another tense exchange occurred between Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Lewandowski, who refused to answer her questions. He said, “Could you repeat the question? I didn’t hear it. Just a rant.” Jackson-Lee scolded him, “This is a House Judiciary, not a house party.” This can be watched in the tweet below.
“This is a House Judiciary, not a house party,” Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said in a heated exchange with Corey Lewandowski during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, after Lewandowski refused to answer a series of questions. https://t.co/IPOUV7ZxHg pic.twitter.com/DgduCzrDN8
— CNN (@CNN) September 17, 2019
The highlight of the day had to have been when Rep. Doug Campbell (R-GA) offered a sharp rebuke to Jerry Nadler for holding this sham of a hearing. Campbell said all you [Democrats] want to do is to put on a show to appease your base and lambasted them for not passing any legislation. Watch the clip in the tweet below.
In the absence of a proper floor vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry, today’s business represents a regular oversight hearing, masquerading as impeachment to appease a liberal base. pic.twitter.com/RfmPO2C4F6
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) September 17, 2019
It was a day of Democratic grandstanding and many of them ended the day looking like buffoons. Clearly they were playing to their liberal bases, but a top Democratic House Judiciary Committee source told NBC News Tuesday that there was another reason for the hearing. The source said “the point of the hearing had been to expose Trump to another possible pathway to impeachment: obstructing Congress by not fully complying with a subpoena.” What a surprise.
During a break in the testimony, Lewandowski sent out a tweet about his new website. He’s contemplating a senate run.
New website just launched to help a potential senate run. Sign up now! https://t.co/WlI11PaQ7M
— Corey R. Lewandowski (@CLewandowski_) September 17, 2019
If these mindless hearings continue, you can almost imagine them evolving into Chicago Seven-like trials. Lewandowski will start blowing kisses to the jury and Trump will walk in with a birthday cake.
Following his testimony, Lewandowski spoke to Fox News’ Martha MacCallum. It had been a very long day.
Watch the video below.