Sep 19, 2019

Pelosi tells Democrats Lewandowski deserves to be held in contempt

Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference on Capitol Hill, Sept. 12. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told other Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski should've been immediately held in contempt for refusing to cooperate with lawmakers during a Congressional hearing, the Washington Post first reported.

I would have held him in contempt right then and there."
— Nancy Pelosi's meeting comments, per WashPost

Why it matters: Per Axios' Alayna Treene, there was overwhelming consensus among House Democrats Axios interviewed after Lewandowski appeared before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that the chaotic hearing did nothing to galvanize public support for impeaching President Trump.

The big picture: Politico reports that Pelosi addressed the issue of Lewandowski declining to answer questions that involved conversations with President Trump not referenced in the Mueller report. Pelosi's spokesperson Ashley Etienne confirmed the report of the speaker's comments in a statement to news outlets.

  • Etienne said a member commented during the closed-door meeting "on the level of disrespect that Lewandowski displayed at the hearing for the committee and Congress's authority to uncover the truth," per The Hill.
  • Pelosi agreed that his behavior was "beyond the pale and contemptible," Etienne said.

Between the lines: Several lawmakers in the room took her remarks as a dig at House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler for not holding Lewandowski in contempt for his defiance, according to WashPost, which notes that staff would have technically had to draft a contempt resolution to vote on in committee.

  • Some felt the committee looked weak for not responding, but the panel could choose to move forward with contempt at a later day, per WashPost.

Go deeper: Lewandowski hearing boosts Pelosi's anti-impeachment plan

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The White House is planning to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter as soon as Friday arguing that President Trump and his team can ignore lawmakers' demands until she holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry, 2 sources familiar with the letter tell Axios.

Why it matters: By putting in writing the case that Trump and his supporters have been making verbally for days, the White House is preparing for a court fight and arguing to the public that its resistance to Congress' requests is justified.

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House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) on September 19, 2019. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House will open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, in the aftermath of reports that he pressured Ukraine's president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

The big picture: After months of what House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler described as "formal impeachment proceedings" — or months of subpoenas and committee investigations — House Democrats are officially taking the plunge.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019