Politics

Lewandowski: 'I don't have any reason to be held in contempt'

Former campaign manager appeared for House hearing

Lewandowski combative at House hearing

(CNN) - President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Wednesday that he doesn't think he will be held in contempt of Congress a day after the House Judiciary Committee's chairman threatened to do so following a contentious hearing.

"I don't have any reason to be held in contempt and I've told the members of Congress I'm happy to come back and answer more questions if they need me to, after the five- or six-hour charade I went through yesterday," Lewandowski, a former CNN political commentator, told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."

The testy back-and-forth between Lewandowski and Camerota continues the former campaign official's steadfast stonewalling of both Democratic investigators as well as media scrutiny of Trump's White House and campaign.

On Tuesday, Lewandowski sat for a roughly six-hour House Judiciary Committee hearing in which he largely ignored questions from the panel's Democrats on whether Trump obstructed justice. The hearing, which was the first official impeachment-related hearing on Capitol Hill in the wake of the Russia investigation, was largely filled with barbs, partisan attacks and references to Lewindowski's possible New Hampshire US Senate campaign.

The hearing grew so heated that the panel's Democratic chairman, Jerry Nadler of New York, threatened to hold Lewandowski in contempt, saying later that the White House's effort to restrict Lewandowski's testimony was based on "crony privilege."

At one point in Wednesday's CNN interview, Lewandowski questioned what he would be held in contempt for, arguing that he answered a considerable amount of the questions posed to him by the panel's members.

The former campaign official did occasionally disclose new details about his role in an incident that former special counsel Robert Mueller examined for potential obstruction. He confirmed that Trump told him to order then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the Mueller investigation so that it would only look for future election meddling -- and stop probing his 2016 campaign.

Lewandowski, who appeared before the committee under subpoena, expressed frustration on Wednesday about the order, saying to Camerota that he's "now testified in front of Congress on four separate occasions (and) spoke to the special counsel's office on two separate occasions."

"They could have just asked me to come, and I would have been happy to do so. They chose to subpoena me and change the rules last week ... and I was still there," he said.

At the hearing, Lewandowski revealed that he hadn't read Mueller's nearly 450-page report, an admission he reiterated to Camerota on Wednesday during a testy exchange about the report's content.

"By the way, the Mueller report was very clear: there was no collusion, there was no obstruction," Lewandowski said.

"That's not what the Mueller report said, Corey," Camerota replied.

"It absolutely says that. You should read the page that states that on," Lewandowski said.

"Did you read the Mueller report?" Camerota asked, to which the former campaign official replied: "No, I never did."

During his CNN interview, Lewandowski also addressed an exchange he had during the hearing with Barry Berke, a lawyer for the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, in which he said he has "no obligation" to tell the truth to the media.

"I'm as honest as I can be, as often as I can be," Lewandowski told Camerota.

CNN's Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.


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