Yesterday, former wartime presidential consigliere wannabe Steve Bannon testified before the House Intelligence Committee. Through some manner of mixed signals (not sure I can even use that idiom anymore without it having sexual connotations), he refused to answer some questions where he, and the White House, thought an agreement placing those questions out of bounds had been reached. If the House Intelligence Committee was dissatisfied yesterday, they were livid with Corey Lewandowski’s performance.
Via Jonathan Turley, from whom I stole my headline:
The day after the dubious refusal of Steve Bannon to answer questions before the House Intelligence Committee, Corey Lewandowski refused to answer lawmakers’ questions after pledging to answer any and all questions. Lewandowski said that he was not prepared to answer questions concerning the period following his campaign tenure. That is not a recognized basis to refuse to answer congressional questions. It ranks with “my dog ate my notes” as a basis for remaining silent. He can always answer questions by saying that he does not recall but the basis for refusing to answer is highly problematic.
Turley points out that only yesterday Lewandowski was pledging full cooperation with the committee:
The reaction has been hilarious:
Included in the questions Lewandowski would not answer was: "Did you have a conversation with the president of the United States within the last 24 hours where you discussed your testimony?" said Schiff.
— Billy House (@HouseInSession) January 17, 2018
Schiff slams Lewandowski: “Yesterday he said on Fox that he would answer every question that we had. Today, however, he refused. To me it’s inconceivable that you would come to an investigative hearing on these issues unprepared to answer questions.” https://t.co/5WgAI9HyGO
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 18, 2018
Schiff says Corey Lewandowski refused to disclose any information to the committee AFTER he left the campaign in 2016. Told panel he was “unprepared” and would come back another time
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 17, 2018
(As an aside, note how frequently your find NBC’s Manu Raju quoting Schiff and your answers on a lot of leaks will be answered.)
The Brits have an insult “too clever by half,” which is usually applied to people who think they are a lot smarter than they really are. I don’t know what Lewandowski hoped to accomplish by this stunt. He has to know that he’s going to have to talk to the committee and it would be better to do so when the GOP majority don’t feel like he’s tried to punk them. His refusal to answer the question about speaking to Trump doesn’t do Trump any favors. Odds are he hasn’t, but he’s created a conspiracy thread where none need exist.
More to the point, Lewandowski is not smart enough to play this silly game. He doesn’t have a support network on Capitol Hill or in the administration that will shield him. He has just made his own life a helluva lot harder to no real end.