Ex-GOP Congressman Says Lewandowski Gave House Democrats 'What They Needed' for Articles of Impeachment Against Trump

Former Republican congressman David Jolly told MSNBC on Tuesday afternoon that Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's 2016 campaign manager, gave Democrats "what they needed" for an article of impeachment against the president for obstruction of justice during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Lewandowski firmly defended his former boss and repeatedly refused to answer questions asked by Democrats throughout the hearing, including some concerning the directive he received from Trump to deliver a message to Jeff Sessions in 2017 that asked the then-Attorney General to reconsider his recusal and have former special counsel Robert Mueller limit the scope of his Russia probe to exclude Trump's 2016 campaign.

"The White House has directed me that I not disclose the substance of any conversations with the president or his advisers," Lewandowski said.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler condemned the White House for limiting Lewandowski's testimony. The former Trump campaign manager has never served in the Trump administration.

"There is a far more troubling contempt on display today, and that is President Trump's role in your refusal to answer questions," the lawmaker said. "The pattern of obstruction laid out in the Mueller report has not stopped."

During a segment on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, a panel discussed Lewandowski's chaotic roughly five-hour appearance before the committee.

"The president was initially cheering Corey Lewandowski's opening statement and the way he started off this hearing which was obvious to everybody that he went in there looking for a fight, he was performing for the president," Los Angeles Times White House reporter Eli Stokols said. "This is a guy who is trying to run for Senate in New Hampshire and who during a recess tweeted out a link to his Senate campaign committee telling people to follow him."

David Jolly
Former Republican congressman David Jolly on Tuesday told MSNBC that Corey Lewandowski gave Democrats "what they needed" during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee for an article of impeachment against President Trump. MSNBC/Screenshot

Stokols claimed that Lewandowski's efforts to turn the hearing into "spectacle" was "going really well" until his last hour of testimony. "What happened in the last hour came after three, four hours of testimony," he said. "I'm going to guess that they are not as pleased with Corey Lewandowski being exposed, obviously, as somebody who's willing to lie to the press and being caught in those lies by very skilled questioner."

Lewandowski was caught in a lie during the testimony when Democratic counsel Barry Berke asked him about an interview he gave to MSNBC in February, where he contradicted the statement he gave in his earlier testimony on Tuesday that Trump did ask him to urge Sessions to limit Mueller's probe.

After being called out, Lewandowski said: "I have no obligation to be honest with the media because they are just as dishonest as anybody else." When pressed, he then admitted "perhaps I was inaccurate at the time" but claimed he is a "truth-teller" under oath.

Host Chris Matthews asserted that Lewandowski was less successful at lying than Trump.

"This guy went out there having a hot dog for about an hour or two, selling his book and having the time of his life up there, enjoying it like he was in the end zone like he kicked three touchdowns or something," he said. "And here's the guy caught up in a lie right on television which will never go away. He will always be the guy who said I lied for Trump."

Jolly pointed out that Lewandowski confirmed "that he lies to the American people" an hour after announcing his Senate bid.

"An hour after as Eli said announcing his New Hampshire Senate bid, he announces to the world he's a liar," the former GOP lawmaker said. "He confirmed for the world today, Corey Lewandowski did, that he lies to the American people and he's asking to be part of the United States Senate. That works in Trump's GOP, but I think New Hampshire Republicans are smarter than that."

Jolly also said that Lewandowski "provided confirmation today" that Trump "instructed him to commit obstruction of justice" and that information is enough to fuel impeachment proceedings against the president.

"This is one of those hearings where the transcript, the written transcript will be much more damning than some of the things Lewandowski actually said," he explained. "Lewandowski gave House Judiciary Committee what they needed today for an article of impeachment against the president of the United States for obstruction of justice."