tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 17, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
accusing him and drags it through the committee for eight months. i think following procedures is something you actually have to look at. because your idea is not really -- >> mr. chairman, your time expired. >> if he wishes. he doesn't wish. >> good morning, mr. lewandowski. i'm questions you right now. thank you. the president asked you who had no role at all in the white house to deliver that message to attorney general sessions. the president could have just picked up the phone himself at any time and called the attorney general. the president also had a full staff of executive employees right down the hall. so this made me wonder. ed president thought what he was doing was legal, why didn't he just pick up the phone and call
attorney general sessions, or why not ask any member of his staff who worked right down the hall to deliver a message? it is clear to me that the reason he went to you, mr. lewandowski, is because everyone said, no. i want to ask you about that. two days before meeting you the president had called white house counsel mcgann at home on a saturday to fire the special counsel saying, and you can see that on the screen, mueller has to go. call me back when you do it. plain and simple. but mcgann refused. when the president asked you to deliver that message, did he, the president, tell you that two days before your meeting his white house counsel had refuses to fire the special counsel, volume 11 86 you'll find that language. volume 2. when the president asked you -- did you hear the question?
>> i'm sorry. repeat the question. >> when the president asked you to deliver that message did he, the president, tell you two days before your meeting his white house counsel had refused to fire the special counsel? >> the white house directed me that i not disclose the substance of any -- >> you are not allowed to answer whether the president told you he called his counsel at home on saturday to remove the special counsel and counsel said, no? the president also had personally called sessions at home and asked him to unrecuse himself and oversee the special counsel's investigation and sessions said no. when the president asked to you deliver his message to sessions did the president tell you that sessions had already said no, volume 2 page 107? >> again, congresswoman, i recognize that the privilege is not mine but asked by the white house -- happy to answer your question or just have a conversation by yourself but if you'd like to ask me a question i'm happy to answer. >> i'm going to continue. >> don't ask me a question i
won't answer. >> this is a house judiciary not a house party. >> give me the opportunity to answer your question. >> the campaign special counsel'sinvestigating, i'd like my time restored of his interruption. so he was a witness to the special counsel's investigation for that reason sessions said publicly that federal law prohibited his involvement in the special counsel's investigation. a quote from the report from volume 2 pages 49 to 50 which son the screen. you can read that. yes or no. did the president tell you that the attorney general was legally not allowed to take any part in the special counsel's investigation when he asked you to deliver him a note about that very investigation? did the president tell you that? >> what you've just read isn't on the screen, congresswoman. we need to look at the screen. yes or no. read the screen. >> you're welcome to read it,
congresswoman. >> you're welcome to be stalling, and i'm not going to stall. either answer the question yes or no. >> congresswoman i'll take the same privilege as -- >> tell you nobody at the white house was supposed to even contact the t.attorney general about the investigation? >> i will not disclose any conversation i've had with the president. >> again, you are obviously here to block any reasonable inquiry into the truth not of this administration. shortly after sessions announced recusal and should not the contacted about the white house -- the internal notes say no contact with sessions and no communication, serious about instruction. can you read that? i just said it. can you read that? did you hear me? >> yes. is there a question? >> yes. did the president tell you, his white house counsel told him, no contact with sessions, because of serious concerns of obstruction when he asked you to
deliver a message to sessions? >> i'm respecting the executive branch privilege of confidentiality and recognize at this time -- >> let me just say that you knew, that you know the president was putting you at risk when he asked you to deliver a message to the attorney general. i want to be very clear. the president knew what he was doing was wrong, because everyone else had already said no. he called his white house counsel to fire the special counsel, mcgann said no. called the attorney general to ask him to unrecuse himself from the special counsel's investigation. sessions said no. his white house counsel said there's to be no contact with sessions because of his recusal. so what does the president do? que calls you in to do what everyone else wouldn't do, in secret, because he knew had was wrong. we will explodes the truth that the president cannot hide behind you any longer and should be here to tell the truth, because the truth will set you free and the american people. i yield back. >> time of the general lady is
expired. the witness may answer the question. >> i don't believe there was a question, congressman. >> very well. >> yes, there was. >> repeat the question. happy to repeat the question. >> just a rant. >> i'll be happy to repeat -- >> general lady's time is expired. the gentleman from the -- >> did you know the attorney general recused -- >> the gentleman from ohio is recognized. >> thank you. mr. lewandowski, thank you for appearing this afternoon to testify before this committee. i understand that you've spent many hours testifying voluntarily before congress over the last few years. isn't that correct? >> it is. >> and have you had to hire and retain counsel to represent you for all the investigations that you've had to endure simply because you served as the president's campaign manager? >> yes, sir. >> that's unfortunate, because, you didn't solicit or receive assistance from the russians. did you? >> no, sir. >> are you an agent working on
behalf of the russian government? >> no, sir. >> as a close friend and adviser of the president, you don't believe that the president is working on behalf of the russians, do you? >> absolutely not. >> and to your knowledge, there is no effort on the part of the president to intentionally obstruct justice, is there? >> no, sir. >> thank you. and yet again, coming here to tell this committee what we special counsel mueller and the american public already know, tra president trump did not collude with the russians or obstruct justice. not to say that the russians weren't trying to interfere and influence our 2016 presidential election. it's clear that they were. by sending fake texts and operating fake facebook pages, and holding fake rallies. all in an effort to try to influence the outcome of the
election. democrats want to ignore all the real evidence of russian interference and hold this fake impeachment because it happened under a different president's watch. this all happened under president obama's watch. isn't that correct? >> yes, sir. >> and it was the obama administration that failed to protect us from the russian interference and influence in our election. isn't that also true? >> yes. >> president trump wasn't president. he wasn't the one that failed to protect the country. if anybody failed it was the obama administration. is that right? >> yes it is. >> i've said it before, and i'll say it again. we're wasting valuable committee time engaging in his impeachment investigation. the fact of the matter is, one thing this committee could be doing is to question inspector general horowitz concerning the bias against the president at the origins of the russian investigation. we could be questioning horowitz
about his recent report how then fbi director comey mishandled department memos. this committee has such a rich history, jurisdiction over a whole lot of very significant things. we're spending our time on this fake impeachment, but we could be focused on something that really matters, like immigration. asylum. we have hundreds of thousands of people that have entered our southern border, generally brought up either individually or in groups, caravans. usually oftentimes connected with cartels, cartels make a lot of money when they come up here and are told the magic words. come across the border. they say that they're in fear, and come sobriety our country, and we put them on a bus or on a plane and they're sent to communities across the country. that's something this committee should be working in a bipartisan manner to do something about. opioids. about 70,000 americans who lost their lives to opioids last
year. that's something in the jurisdiction of this committee. yet we do virtually nothing about it in this committee. balanced budget amendment is something i've introduced in this country. a $22 trillion debt hanging oakar our head yet we do nothing in this committee about attempting to pass something that would make us balance the budget every year like all our states have to do. so finally i just want to thank you again, mr. lewandowski, for appearing at today's hearing. perhaps your testimony today will finally convince democrats that there are much more important things that this committee could be spending our time on. rather than continuing to pursue this fake impeachment. a foe impeachment. the bottom line is, they don't have the votes in the house to move forward, for the house to vote for this committee to open up an impeachment inquiry. don't have the votes. some democrats want to vote for
it. some democrats would vote against it but they don't have the votes so they spend valuable committee time we could be spending on other important things on this fake, foe impeachment and it's a shame. because this committee could be doing so much more on behalf of the american people. with that, i yield back. >> mr. chairman, point of parliamentary inquiry. >> who states the -- gentleman state his point. >> the witness is to answer a long line of questions from the gentleman from ohio about whether donald trump colluded with the russians and origins of mueller investigation but never testified before any of those before special counsel mueller. can he now continue to invoke this white house rationale confined to the four corners of the mueller report when he's gone way beyond it in responses from the gentleman from ohio? >> regardless of whether he went
beyond the four corners of the mueller report and the answers he gave to the last questioner, regardless of that and i'm glad to hear he favors the patriots even though that's not in the mu mule ro mueller report. the claim of privilege made by the werens is improper for the reasons set forth in our letter today to the white house and to the witness' counsel. that said i will take the claim of privilege under advisement. >> mr. chairman, parliamentary -- >> the gentlemen will state -- >> did you actually answer his parliamentary inkwquirinquiry? it was just a statement, at least not a parliamentary inquiry. >> the gentleman stated the parliamentary inquiry. >> he did not. it was a statement. >> i answered his parliamentary inquiry. the gentleman from tennessee is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. lewandowski it's clear you
were not an employee you admitted of the white house. had no w-2, no card, nothing. not employed. and you were a policeman at one time. so you know something about the law and about following the law. didn't you think is was a little strange the president would sit down with you one on one and ask you to do something that you knew was against the law? did that strike you as strange xwa? >> i disagree with the premise of your question, congressman. >> you weren't a policeman? >> i didn't think the president asked me to do anything illegal. >> you don't think it's illegal for you to ask mr. sessions to drop the investigation and go on to future presidents and omit everything with this president and go ali ali infant-free and start the next president colluding with russia? that wasn't illegal in obstructing justice? never a judge and won't be one obviously. all of these people asked you, dictation, dictated to you a message to give sessions.
had you ever been a secretary for the president before and taken dictation or shorthand? >> many times. >> oh, we got your qualifications now. you were a secretary. could he ask you outside of white house channels what mueller wrote, this was outside of white house channels? could it be he asked you to get the message to sessions because he thought you would do whatever he can asked even if illegal or immoral like your former boss who said you were an mpme me implementer, lewandowski background is largely a trump guy not so much as a strategist or a campaign manager but as a right-hand man, a body man and an enforcer. "esquire" said one-time manager for donald trump has traits of an enforcer and the conflict resolution skills to match. even described yourself in your book, let trump be trump. you said, we were fine with whatever role the president wanted us to play and donald
trump's army there were only loyal soldiers. there were no more loyal soldiers. your previous boss was convicted of corruption and lying to authorities in the abram scandal and you fired after being accused voter fraud and now involved in this. either you were willing to break the law for politics and mr. trump or you're some kind of a for evide forrest gump relating to corruption. did the president pick you as enforcer to play whatever role he wanted because you can illegal and why he chose you to take the message to sessions? >> that would be a question for the president. >> donald trump was right, though. first the white house counsel, don mcgahn refused to fire the special counsel. mr. mcgann showed principle and character refusing to do what he knew would be weren't illegal panting and then attorney general sessions asked to unrecuse himself but he also did the right thing and said i'm not
going to unrecuse myself because i have a conflict. i was involved in the campaign and knew things. can't do it. then the white house counsel advised the president not even to contact sessions. but you his loyal soldier would do it. you were different than sessions and mcgann. trump could depend on you. you did note ask questions, a loyal soldier wrote down the message and agreed to deliver it. gave it to hope hickss, asked her to type it up, not that you couldn't have done i'm sure and asked somebody else to deliver the message to sessions when you decided not to. donald trump talked to you outside normal channels so no record of anything he asked you to do obstruct justice. the president knew what he was doing was wrong, mr. sessions knew it, mr. mcgann knew it you seem to be the only person who didn't think was wrong, but mr. trump was wrong. at the last minute you got cold feet. you chickened out. the president's trust was
misplaced, decided not to do what you told the president you would do and handed it off to somebody else. did you realize at some point that mr. nay your former boss had criminal problem, went to prison and maybe you would be sglex did that cross your mind or ever think about the situation of going to prison? >> congressman nay, so we're clear, went to jail many years after i left his employment. i'm sure you're clarify that for the record. >> you were his employee and had great respect but learned from that. i'm asking did you learn from his experience and realize what you were asked to do was illegal and you didn't want to follow the same trail and bob nay and end in up prison. >> i wasn't asked to do anything illegal. >> the public will determine that. this has been more obstruction by congress in his administration and you were a loyal soldier, except you didn't follow the instructions. you chickened out last minute, got cold feet.
i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from ohio. >> you ran president trump's campaign between january 2015 and june 2016. is that right? >> yes. >> at the helm of the campaign when president trump secured the republican nomination? >> yes, sir. >> pretty good campaign you ran. >> thank you. >> i mean, you would be, what, 17, 18, beat, oents, senators, governors, some good senators. of course, you had a pretty good candidate. >> the best. >> pretty good candidate done a great job at president of the united states. after you left the campaign, june of 2016, left the head of the campaign involved in the election up stloo november 2016? >> yes. >> entire time a part of the campaign at some level or another from january 2015 to november 2016. during that time ever work with
russia to impact the election? >> no. >> interesting, mr. lewandowski, jim comey asked that same question sitting at that same table and gave the same answer and bob mueller asked that same question sitting at that same able to, he gave the same answer. falsely, the president is falsely accused colluding with a foreign state to impact the election. jim comey, deposed at that very table said after ten months of investigation we didn't have a thing. bob mueller, special counsel wastes $30 million of taxpayer money, 22-month investigation said at that table just a few weeks ago, gives the same darn answer. these guys over here don't care. they don't care. they don't want to get to what was, figure how the false accusation happened just drag people in front of this committee and keep trying to find some way they can go after the president. go back to the process that the ranking member raised. did you testify in front of the senate intel dcommittee in 2017?
>> yes. >> testify in front of the house intelligence committee in 2017? >> yes. >> and went before the special counsel, answered his questions in to 18. is that right? >> it is. >> did it all voluntarily? >> yes. >> no subpoena? >> no, sir. >> said i'm willing to comply, give answer, answer all the questions you got? >> yes. >> in your opening statement you said 20 -- how many hours did you sit in front of those committees? >> more than 20. >> more than 20 hours. for this committee, did you get a letter from this committee back in march asks for certainly documents chairman nadler wanted to have? >> yes. >> you complied? >> yes, sir. >> june 24th another letter. >> yes. >> another letter of his year asking to do a transdescribed letter in front of the committee and your lawyer contacted mr. nadler said we'd be happy to do
that. is that right? >> yes. >> give us dates, we'll come in for an interview. >> yes. >> what happeneds next? >> about five weeks ago the committee issued a subpoena for my appearance is. >> willing to come voluntarily like for bob mueller, special counsel, 20-some hours, will to to do it all. and when they want an interview, all right, sure do it, and hit you with a subpoena. >> correct. >> then call you names. start treating you this way. kind of interesting. they're the one whose started it, slapped you with a subpoena when you were willing to come here voluntarily. >> i was. >> then the question, the demeanor you bring here today. i mean -- first they change the rules last week. in the middle of the congress. change the rules of the committee in the middle of the game and then today not even going to follow the rules? because the rules they changed last week talked about staff
asking questions after members of done. got the issue with consultants. this -- maybe we would be better served if we did exactly what mr. shabette said. better served at house judiciary committee if we actually focused how this whole false accusation started in the first place map do you think? >> a great idea. >> maybe the american people would be better served and spending more time investigating something that's already had 32 months of investigation from both comeyed fbi and special counsel. a great place to start, mr. chairman, ask you about this one week ago today. great place to start, inspector general's report issued three weeksation. the scathing report about jim comey. a nice place to start but when i asked the chairman when we might have an opportunity to question mr. horowitz he said, i don't know. i haven't thought about that.
of course you weren't thought about that. too busy trying to impeach the president. too busy slapping subpoenas on corey lewandowski. of course you haven't thought about that. that's what the committee should be focused on. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. lewandowski, you are about like a fish being cleaned with a spoon. it's very hard to get an answer out of you. but let me ask you this, sir, based on the president's past statements, everybody knows that the president does not like for anybody to take notes when he's talking. in fact, he asks lawyers not to take official notes. you're aware of that. correct? >> i'm aware of the public account, sir. >> all right. fair enough. when the president met with you in the oval office one on one on june 19, 2017 to dictate a message to attorney general jeff
sessions, he told you to "write this down." isn't that correct? >> that's accurate. >> and it was just you and the president in that meeting. correct? >> it was. >> and you knew that you needed to write down as fast as possible what the president was telling you so that you could make sure to capture the content of what he was telling you correctly. correct? >> i don't know the speed of writing was a criteria but i tried to capture it to the best of my ability. >> thank you, sir. he dictated to you exactly what he wanted you to put into the mouth of attorney general jeff sessions. correct? >> i believe he asked me to deliver a message for jeff to consider delivering himself. >> and it was a message that he intended for jeff, meaning jeff sessions, to deliver out loud and publicly. he wanted the public to know
what he was saying but he wanted jeff to say it. correct? >> i believe the mueller report accurately depicts that. >> mr. lewandowski, we projected on the screen the message that the president dictated to you that he wanted you to deliver to the attorney general. it's on the screen, and i'd like for you to read the first two sentences, if you would entertain that. >> as director mueller stated when asked to read from the report and i quote -- happy to you have read it, congressman. >> look on the -- prefer for me to read it instead of you? >> please. >> okay. it says, i know that i recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas, but our potus is being treated very unfairly. that's what he told you to write down and that's what you wrote down. now i'll continue. he said, he shouldn't have a special prosecutor counsel, because he hasn't done anything
wrong. now, that's what he wanted you to deliver to attorney general jeff sessions. correct? >> i believe that's an accurate representation, and he wanted you to deliver it to jeff so that jeff could say it to the people. right? >> i believe so. >> and you felt kind of squeamish, like a, like that fish that you are trying to be right now, being scaled, you felt a little squeamish about delivering that message. correct? >> no, sir. >> well, why didn't you, why dp did it take you so long and you never even delivered it. correct. i never delivered it, you chickened out. >> i went on vacation. >> i went on vacation. so you put the, you put the message in the safe, in your safe, in your home, for safe keeping. ject before you went on vacation? >> i took my kids to the bich, congressman. more of a priority. >> and president trump was hounding you, when are you going to deliver that message? correct? >> completely inaccurate,
congressman. well, he askeds you about it a few times. didn't he? >> no, he did not. >> he never asked you whether or not you had delivered that message? >> not on multiple occasions, no. >> one occasion, okay? he did mention it on one occasion to you? >> i don't know if that's in the report, sir. >> and you told him that, yeah. i'm going to get around to it, deliver it. correct? >> i'd have to see the reference to the mueller report with that. >> it's in the report. >> direct me to the book and page to review that. >> i don't need to waste time with that, but let me tell you something, the next three sentences after those first two, would you read those, please? >> you're welcome to, congressman. >> okay's he said, he shouldn't have a special prosecutor or counsel, because he hasn't done anything wrong. i was on the campaign with him for nine months. there were no russians involved with him. i know it for a fact because i was there. now, the president wanted
attorney general to say that, but you didn't deliver the message, and you knew that attorney general sessions had recused himself at that time, and since he had recused himself you knew that it would have been against the law for him to comment in any way on that investigation. isn't that right? >> i did not know that. >> you did not know that? you did not know that? >> correct. >> time of the gentleman expired. the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you for putting up with the harassment you're putting up with right now. according to the alliance for securing democracy russia interfered in the inlections of belarus, bulgaria, canada, cypress, czech republic, denmark, finland, france, hungary, italy, macedonia,
moldova, montenegro, poland, portug portugal, spain, turkey, ukraine and the united states. specifically targeted scottish independent vote, brexit vote and angela merkel. despite knowledge of these threats the obama administration sat idly by instead of warning the campaign, james comey fbi used secret surveillance to spy on members of the tramp campaign allowing election interference to occur. why isn't this hearing focused and holding doj and fbi leadership accountable for this malfeasance? and why was a specialist said it is to attack and undermine democracy? he said the goal is leave voters feeling as if"either the
institutions are corrupt or you can't trust the vote" this is the kind of campaign the kgb runs and we all know vladimir putin was a former member of the kgb. 2016 the goal simple, sow seeds of distrust and make it impossible for our elected to govern. putin wins with a weakened america regardless of who won the election. this is the kind of approach that's been used by the communists and russia for nearly half a century after overthrowing the czar nicholas ii, a different vladimir used this to defend communism. john reed defendeds the bo bolsheviks and lenin used the term useful idiots to sdrin hour left it leaning communist sympathizing americans could be easily tricks and used to help
the russians. for the past three years democrats have focused on undermining america's president instead of working with president trump and republicans in congress to harden our election defenses. i think there would be broad bipartisan support that we need to prevent future election meddling. the mueller report makes clear that president trump wanted to focus on protects our democracy from future attacks. one question, mr. lewandowski. it's clear that putin attacked america with the goal of dividing the american people and today's hearing is held for the sole purpose of attacking america's president, which will weaken our country on the international stage. do you believe vladimir putin is sitting in his office right now in the kremlin laughing at what those on the other side of the aisle are doing and believing that those on the other side of the aisle are useful idiots helping -- >> objection, mr. chairman.
i have a -- a point of order. >> the lady will state her point of order. >> a point of order. according to the rules and the rules of this committee and house rules, we cannot attribute derogatory names to colleagues or motives to our colleagues and i believe the gentleman says those on the other side of the aisle are idiots. this is a very sacred and somber responsibility. i've taken an oath of office. my good friend just like you did, i am concerned about the constitution just as you are, and i would not engage in any behavior that could be described as idiot. never in my life or my colleagues have we ever discussed behaving like idiots. mr. chairman that is an inappropriate terminology and description of members of this house or republicans or democrats no matter what position they are. >> i will overrule -- overrule the point of order.
the rules of decorum refer to motive, calling someone an idiot is not flattering but does not go to motive. and i believe we should have the most robust debate. i believe we should respect each other but i don't think we should -- i don't think that goes to motive and accordingly overrule the ruling for point of order. the gentleman will proceed. >> thank you. i didn't call anyone an idiot. i said useful idiot and secondly, i asked the witness whether he believed that as part of vladimir putin's strategy he, vladimir putin, was being aided by useful ed yitidiots in ameri. your answer, sir? >> congressman, i can't be sure to the motives of vladimir putin or the russians who want to interfere with our election process in 2016 but can be certain of one thing. donald trump is was a private citizen at the time and no more
responsibility or authority to secure the integrity of the 2016 election cycle than i can. that responsibility fell for the intelligence committee and obama administration and clearly failed. never under my tenure inform me or anyone in the campaign of any potential hacking transpiring never contact us to alert us of any potential security violations as related to the election and so i think mr. comey, mr. brennan, and mr. clapper ultimately own the responsibilities to understand why they did not do a better job protecting the american electorate in 20916 ensuring we didn't have foreign interference. >> and mr. lewandowski, had they contacted you what would have been your response in terms of notifying others on the election in terms of their dealing with russians? >> we wok have worked with them. recommended working through counsel to notify them of potential contacts i don't ever
recall having, had any, notified the appropriate authorities immediately. >> thank you. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida. >> thank you --. >> mr. chairman, mr. lewandowski, follow-up on mr. johnson. the mueller report volume 2 page 90 says one month later a month after your june 19th meeting after returning from vacation the president met again with lewandowski followed up on the request to have sessions limit the scope of the russia investigation. just to clarify that he did do that, but i want to go back to the meeting june 1th. the president asks you to write down word for word a script he wanted the attorney general of the united states to deliver. isn't that it correct? >> sorry. can you give me the reference against, congressman? >> let me do this. previously you testified because the reported in the mueller report, that the president asked lewandowski to deliver a message to sessions and write this down. this is page 91. this was the first time the president asked him to take dictation. wrote as fast as possible. the notes you took at that meeting are on the screen.
if you could i don't know that the notes are -- i'm going to read the section of the notes that you took. that were, again, this is what you were asked to deliver to the attorney general of the united states to announce in public. i know i recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas but our potus is being treated very unfairly. he shouldn't have a special prosecutor or counsel because he hasn't done anything wrong. i was on the campaign with him nine months. no russians involved with him. i know for a fact because i was there. he didn't do anything wrong except run the greatest campaign in american history. from page 91. again, what president trump warranted the attorney general sew say in public about the special counsel's investigation. is that right? >> i believe that's an accurate representation. >> in june 2017 you said you didn't know about the attorney
general being barred from participating, speaking out about the russia investigation. the public didn't know about all of these attempts to influence the investigation at that time but what we did know, what everyone knew, that the president's campaign was under investigation and knew the attorney general couldn't touch it because he was a major part of the campaign. advised on national security matters and back in march had recused himself from anything having to do with the investigation. you didn't -- you weren't aware of that at all? that what he did in march and the fact he recused himself? >> i was aware of the attorney general's recusal. >> and so when the president asked you to deliver a speech that he wanted the attorney general, who could not participate in the investigation, couldn't talk about anything having to do with the investigation, he recused himself and the president asked you to deliver that word for word speech for him, that there
was no inconsistency with that and the fact the attorney general recuse canned himself knew he had and couldn't participate in any way? >> i'm not an attorney, congressman. >> not asking as an attorney. i am, but not why i'm asking. asking if you knew he had recuses himself. you did? >> aware the public report of jeff sessions. >> and in his recusal statement he wasn't going to participate in any existing or future investigations of any matters relating to the campaign for president. you knew that was out there. when the president asked you to specifically go in there and ask him to deliver a speech, contrary to that, forget about being a lawyer, did it strike you as awe off in any way? concerned in any way? >> no, sir. >> was it a right decision for sessions to recuse himself? >> i can't comment on jeff sessions decision-making process. >> so here's what he did.
the script says, a group of people in the constitution i'm going to meet with the special prosecutor to explain this is very unfair and let the special prosecution move forward for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections. the president, you agree, was trying to force the investigation to focus on the future so it didn't focus on him. is isn't that right? >> i don't agree. >> you look only in the future and not allowed to look at the one investigation into the president that's not how you interpret that? you interpret it differently? >> i think that's could be your interpretation. >> it is. i think an obvious interpretation. poor time i would ask yours but close with this. a month, asked you to do this, brought you in to talk to the attorney general, because the president was terrified, mr. lewandowski. a in before your meeting the special counsel appointed and the president said, oh, my god. this is terrible.
he wanted you to pressure the attorney general, someone who wasn't even allowed to talk about the investigation to block him from looking at his own conduct. mr. lewandowski, that's abuse of power and as we go on through this investigation, i hope you'll be able to further elaborate how you could haven't seen this is any other light than the obvious way the president abused his power. >> time expired. the witness may answer the question. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from -- texas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. lewandowski, welcome to what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have alternatively described and argued over the past week as an impeachment inquiry, impeachment investigation, impeachment probe and impeachment proceeding.conf one i assure you you're not alone. a lot of folks watching today might be confused because they
might be thinking that impeachment proceedings are supposed to be initiated after a vote by the full house of representatives. and they'd be right. but you see, the democrats now the party of impeachment tried that three times. and failed miserably three times. twice before the mueller report and then once again after the mueller report. so last week the party of impeachment, which is in charge of this committee, changed our rules so that they could get to impeachment in a different way and mr. lewandowski you're lucky you're the first witness for the party of impeachment's new impeachment procedures. >> i feel very lucky. thank you. >> you should. now, i know that you've testified before the house, before the senate and before the special counsel, but in fairness, mr. lewandowski, that's when my colleagues on the other side of the aisle promised the american people there was going to be impeachment by collusion or by conspiracy, of course, didn't exist and the special counsel said it didn't exist.
then had to shift and say, well, now it's going to be impeachment by obstruction of justice. remember, they promised. they promised that special counsel mueller was going to breathe life into impeachment by obstruction of justice and instead put it to death. i don't know if you remember, but i asked him, give me an example only donald trump where the justice department determined that an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined? his answer was, i cannot. remember that? as it turns out all nearly 200 pages of the mueller report and the analysis of volume 2 obstruction of justice was done under a legal standard and legal burden of proof that is not recognized and ever been used before in american jurisprudence but the party of impeachment will gloss over that today and over the fact the inspector general criminally referred the
fbi director who leaked the information to get the special counsel in the first place and the same inspector general who found that facts establishing that that same fbi director was in fact targeting donald trump at the same time in an investigation where he said he wasn't investigating donald trump. now, you might think that this committee would be interested in hearing from that inspector general for the first time rather than hearing from you for the fourth time. but maybe you can be helpful, because the party of impeachment, they don't care, mr. lewandowski, what kind of impeachment you can deliver for them. 135 democrats and socialists in the house of representatives that have publicly come out for impeachment in agreed the president should be impeached. the problem, a dozen different reasons for the basis. talked about by conspiracy, by
obstruction of justice. cover a few more. under the emoluments clause. did the first and only president rich enough to largely self-fund a successful presidential campaign ever admit to you that he secretly ran for president to get rich? >> no, sir. >> okay. >> he's already very rich. >> did -- do you have any information or evidence, mr. lewandowski, about crimes the president committed for or during congressional subpoenas as a basis of impeachment? >> i do not. >> how about dangling pardons? do you know if the president, did he ever admit or say to you he would pardon anybody in law enforcement who was trying to enforce or protect our territorial borders? >> at the request of the white house, i can't discuss private conversations. that may or may not have occurred with the president. >> how about this? impeachment by using a sharpie on a hurricane weather map? did the president ever admit or
stay you toy committed an impeachment high crime by magic marker as some democratic colleagues are mentions? >> i can't discuss. >> you're frankly not being helpful at all, mr. lewandowski. maybe you don't understand that the party of impeachment are not picky at all and don't care if you -- you got anything on donald trump, how about on justice kavanaugh? this morning they said they want to impeach justice kavanaugh. >> he's a good man. >> listen, i know you're disappointed you've only been here four times but don't you think there isn't going to be another opportunity, because this committee has become the search party for impeachment and they're going to bring back anybody as much as they have to do find something, anything, to keep this impeachment hoax alive. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. 15 seconds over time. the gentle lady from california.
>> thank you, mr. chair. mr. lewandowski i want to follow-up from my colleague here mr. deutsch. it's clear that the president was desperate for you to deliver the message to sessions. everyone else had said, no, and he went to great lengths to make sure you'd be effective in delivering it. after the president dictated the meg he told you to tell the attorney general he would be the most popular guy in the country if he delivered that message to limited the investigation to the future. is that correct? >> could you reference me to that in the report, please? >> yes. volume 2, page 92. so is that correct? >> i'd like to reference that. >> while you're looking i'll move on. so the president is telling you how to convince sessions to go it. page 92, first paragraph. tell sessions he'd be the most popular guy in the country if he did what the president ordered. and the president picked you for a reason, because he knew you had the traits of an enforcer and described yourself as his "loyal soldier."
no exception. did you find it now? >> i have it here. >> okay. so -- the attorney general that he would be the most popular guy in the country, if he delivered that message, do you see it on page 92? >> i do. >> is that correct? >> i believe it's aing krit. accurate. >> and you told the president that you understood what he wanted sessions to do. is that what you told the special counsel? same page. >> you do understand what the president wanted? he knew not to create a trail. so -- looking at the slide, lewandowski wanted to pass the message to sessions in person rather than on the phone. where's that? after you left the oval office you didn't schedule an official meeting with sessions. instead you called the attorney general at home. correct? >> if that's what's in the report.
>> you told sessions you wanted to meet in person rather than on the phone. you could have just read the message from the president over the phone, but you knew it would make it harder to persuade sessions to do what you wanted so you wanted to meet with him in person. correct? >> if that's what the report states, yes. >> so the attorney general works at the department of justice, but you told the special counsel that you didn't want to meet in the department of justice. because you knew if you went into a government building there's a public log of a visit and you specifically told the special counsel you did not want to "a public log of your visit." isn't that right? >> that's accurate. >> why is that? why didn't you want to leave a paper trail for your visit? >> jeff and i are friends socially and i wanted the opportunity to have a meal with jeff and relay the conversation which the president asked me to ask jeff to consider giving. >> so if that was the case, then why was there a problem with you having to do it in secret
essentially? i mean, a very important message you were delivering from the president. and it was a message that could certainly be viewed as completely inappropriate considering that you are not even an employee of the white house. you're a private citizen delivering a message to the attorney general? to limit the investigation? so if you didn't think you were doing anything wrong, then -- why would it matter there was a public log? >> i wanted to have the opportunity to speak with jeff in a more relaxed atmosphere and have a meal with him to have the conversation. >> well, you said that another reason for not meeting with the doj was because you "did not want sessions to have an advantage over you by meeting on session' turf." is that light? >> right. >> wanted a private conversation in a more relaxed atmosphere. >> again, if this was an appropriate message to deliver and just about that, why would it matter whose turf it was on? why not go to his office?
you're his friend. why couldn't you go to his office and meet there? >> i suppose i could have but chose to have, i wanted to have a discussion with jeff as we have had so many occasions before that. >> exactly. i mean -- >> never inside the department of justice. >> i believe sessions knew it was wrong and canceled his meeting with you, if you guys were good friends, why would he have bothered to cancel? did he call you up to reschedule it? >> that's a confer fquestion fo sessions. >> you testified ar the inauguration you didn't communicate with your good friend you had dinner with. you had a message to deliver, isn't it fair sessions knew you were calling on behalf of the president and the message was from him? >> i have no idea what was in sessions minds. >> to be clear, the attorney general knew it was a message from the president and still refused to meet with you. mr. lewandowski it's clear to me sessions knew what we all know here today. what you were doing was wong.
wanted nothing to do with your secret message because it was entirely wrong for a private stoin go behind the back of the white house counsel and secretly meet with him on your turf to try to persuade the attorney general to protect the president from investigation into his own misconduct. you can't protect him anymore and glad this misconduct can be brought to public attention so the president can be held accountable. >> the general lady's time is skyre e expired. the witness requested a short recess. the committee will resume in five minutes. the committee stands in recess. okay. you've been listening to this for nearly an hour here, and this is where we are. let's just jump right into analysis. laura coates, first to you. you know, where do i -- corey lewandowski, for the most part, kind of depending who was asking him what, right?
but asserting all of that privilege. he was, he's been difficult. can he get away with that? >> well, he is getting away with it. that's the irony here. i think one of the things, phrases you heard, say, listen, this privilege i know is not mine. kept saying the privilege is not mine. he's right about that, because executive privilege is not perspective. you actually have to assert it, have to say what it's pertaining to and under the umbrella for the purpose of getting candid from a cabinet member our otherwise. not because you might respectively in the future might want to do so. recognize that. i think representative brafken had the perfect idea saying hold on a second. now he's gone beyond the four corner what's he told us the reason he wouldn't speak about issues. gone beyond the issue simply what the mueller report said answering questions when he chose to do so for republican members. and in that respect, he essentially proved he was playing everyone like a fiddle in a way of saying, listen, i'm
here to stonewall, to selectively answers questions and there is an audience of one. >> who, by the way, where's the tweet? read this. trump was, of course, tuned in on air force once tweeted such a beautiful opening statement by corey lewandowski. thank you, corey. obviously, he is, he's watching. >> carey, this is millions of dollars. big picturing this. millions of dollars years of investigatin investigating. went through the whole mueller report. this is hyperpartisan. up know, to both sides. this is where we are? >> yeah. i mean, so the democrats are obviously trying to revive the parts of the report. this is the first fact witness who actually is involved as a fact witness from volume 2. the obstruction part of the special counsel's report and corey lewandowski has been a little bit i think as the hour has drawn on, a little inconsistent with the way that
he originally was going to approach the hearing. very early on was extremely combative with particularly the democratic members of the committee. and then he had a statement that presumably was provided by his lawyers or the white house counsel's lawyers he was reading. he read it several times saying he was not going to answer any questions about husband commu s communications with the president and would stay within the scope of the report. as the hearing has drawn on for a little time he occasionally deviates from that. his response is to congressman johnson, he did get into a little bit of answering questions about the president having asked him to deliver a message to former attorney general sessions. and he in response to republican witnesses has been willing to talk about election interference more broadly. so he's a little bit inconsistent about the way that he is applying the rules in a he set out for himself and the white house set for him at the
beginning. >> or perhaps consistent along party lines. ladies, stay with me. we want to watch more testimony. take a quick commercial break. also the other huge news of the day. polls closing in israel. will bibi netanyahu continue another term? we're watching. stand by. you're watching cnn. i'm your cat. ever since you brought me home, that day. i've been plotting to destroy you. sizing you up... calculating your every move. you think this is love? this is a billion years of tiger dna just ready to pounce. and if you have the wrong home insurance coverage, you could be coughing up the cash for this. so get allstate and be better protected from mayhem, like me-ow.
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we are back just about top of the hour. you're watching cnn. it i'm brooke baldwin. live pictures house judiciary hearing testimony from corey lewandowski. president trump's former campaign manager and it has been tense. one way to put it. dip back in i promise's in a second. huge story today the fact that israelis are deciding the fate of benjamin netanyahu. the head of israel. he is seeking his record fifth term. go to our correspondent oren liebermann in israel. -te tell me what you know. how's it going? >> reporter: brooke, here at prm
prime minister benjamin netanyahu poll. one of the biggest moments of the night when the main tv stations here broadcast exit poll projections what the results may be's review quickly before looking at results what the ex-iit polls are. not the final. hoop voters voted for when stepping out of the box. because of that a margin of error and frankly a history of these being inaccurate and sometimes wildly so. keep that in mind when looking at these. why look at these at all? israel takes these seriously. public looking at these exit polls as are politicians and little parties and go a long way determining the mood, atmosphere behind me at the headquarters and at the other party hoodquarters and who may or may not celebrate tonight. two