Sep 18, 2019

Lewandowski hearing boosts Pelosi's anti-impeachment plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Corey Lewandowski's grudging, impudent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday may have wound up bolstering Speaker Pelosi's hands-off approach to impeachment.

Why it matters: Among House Democrats we interviewed, there was overwhelming consensus that the chaotic hearing did nothing to galvanize public support for impeaching President Trump.

Instead, Democrats once again showed their frustration at Trump's brazen strategy of simply refusing to cooperate with Democrats' probes.

  • The White House prevented two former Trump aides, Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn, from testifying.
  • Lewandowski, a former Trump campaign manager who's eyeing a Senate race in New Hampshire, was so unforthcoming that at one point, all he freely volunteered was that his favorite NFL team is the Patriots.
  • "I will be as sincere in my answers as this committee is in its questions," Lewandowski said as the hearing began.

The big split: A division remains between Democrats who want to move toward impeachment regardless of how it plays politically — and those focused on preserving the House majority, and a broad enough public appeal to win the White House.

Several members on the committee tell Axios that despite personally supporting impeachment, they recognize Pelosi has a different job, and respect that she has to protect the caucus and the new majority.

  • "There are differences about timing and whether we do it at all," Rep. Gerry Connolly, who serves on the House Oversight Committee and recently came out in support of impeachment, tells Axios. "But we can live with ambiguity and we're not going to be pushed into arbitrary deadlines."
  • "The Speaker has to have the ability to see the entire field. She has to consider a lot of things I don't," Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla). said.
  • "The Speaker is a pretty good person to measure her own barometer. She'll know when she needs to act or not act," said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).

In one victory for Democrats, Lewandowski confirmed as "accurate" the Mueller report's account that Trump had asked him to direct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit Mueller's investigation. Trump said that if Sessions would not meet with Lewandowski, Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired.

  • Lewandowski never delivered the message. When Democrats asked if he "chickened out," Lewandowski said he took his kids to the beach instead. (AP)

Between the lines: Many Democrats still think there's an impeachment case to be made, but that investigations and court rulings need to run their course for months to come.

  • "We can’t get this close to getting some answers and then say we’re going to move forward with impeachment without getting the answers,” a Dem leadership aide told Axios.
  • "When we compile our record here in the Judiciary Committee, I believe it'll be so compelling that impeachment resolutions will flow naturally," said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a key questioner yesterday.

Go deeper: Corey Lewandowski stonewalls House Democrats in impeachment hearing

Go deeper

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.