Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski testifies

2:03 p.m. ET, September 17, 2019

Nadler: This is "an absolute cover-up by the White House"

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said the White House has engaged in an "absolute cover-up."

The House committee had subpoenaed former White House aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter to appear today, but the White House told the committee Monday they had immunity from testifying before Congress due to executive privilege.

Nadler brought that up in his opening remarks.

"I think we should call this what it is: an absolute cover-up by the White House," he said. "Today's cover-up is part of a pattern of the White House blocking Congress."

He continued:

“The White House is advancing a new and dangerous theory: the crony privilege. It makes absolute immunity look good by comparison. Where are the limits? This is a cover-up, plain and simple."
1:21 p.m. ET, September 17, 2019

Conservative strategist David Bossie prepped Lewandowski for testimony

Conservative strategist David Bossie led the preparation process for Corey Lewandowski’s testimony today.

That’s why he’s at today's hearing, a person familiar said. 

About Bossie: Although he has never held a job in the administration, he served as Trump's deputy campaign manager in the fall of 2016 and emerged as one of the President's highest-profile supporters — writing books with Lewandowski, and traveling with the President on Air Force One.

1:17 p.m. ET, September 17, 2019

The hearing just kicked off

The House Judiciary Committee is in session, and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's testimony is about to start.

Chairman Jerry Nadler said this hearing is the first designated as an impeachment hearing under the rules the committee approved last week.

12:59 p.m. ET, September 17, 2019

The White House told Lewandowski not to answer some questions

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The White House directed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski not to answer questions about events that occurred after President Trump was elected during testimony today.

Here's the reasoning: Officials instructed Lewandowski not to answer questions about his conversations with the President where the White House could invoke executive privilege, beyond what's already in former special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

"Mr. Lewandowski's conversations with the President and with senior advisers to the President are protected from disclosure by long-settled principles protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests," wrote White House counsel Pat Cipollone, "and, as a result, the White House has directed Mr. Lewandowski not to provide information about such communications beyond the information provided in the portions of the Report that have already been disclosed to the Committee."

12:51 p.m. ET, September 17, 2019

Lewandowski tweets that he's "excited" about today's testimony

Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski tweeted this morning that he is “Excited about the opportunity to remind the American people today there was no collusion no obstruction.” 

Lewandowski will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing on “Presidential Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power” today at 1 p.m. ET.

Here's his tweet:

12:36 p.m. ET, September 17, 2019

Trump's former campaign manager is testifying today

President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is expected to appear before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday in what will be the panel's first high-profile hearing since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified.

Some context: Lewandowski was heavily referenced in Mueller's report on obstruction of justice:

  • Mueller wrote that Trump's former campaign manager was directed by the President to ask then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the Mueller investigation and not to investigate the Trump campaign. Lewandowski tried to set up an in-person meeting with Sessions, but did not do so, according to the special counsel.
  • A month after making the request to Lewandowski about Sessions, the President followed up with Lewandowski and told him that if Sessions did not meet with him, he would be fired. Lewandowski did not deliver the intended message to Sessions. Instead, he asked former White House aide Rick Dearborn to speak to Sessions.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has said two of the episodes involving Lewandowski meet all the criteria for obstruction of justice for the President — and those are likely where Democrats will press Lewandowski to explain what happened.