‘It seems like nothing is getting done. Democrats and Republicans continue to fight. It’s a sideshow…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Democrats are rethinking their impeachment strategy after Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, made a mockery of them during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
The nearly two-year special-counsel investigation into Trump’s campaign concluded in March, yielding no evidence of Russian collusion and declining to recommend prosecution for obstruction of justice.
Nonetheless, partisan leftists in the House—who declared their intention to pursue impeachment and began hiring investigative staff well in advance of the report’s release—have only doubled down on their efforts.
During his appearance this week, Lewandowski—the only Trump adviser thus far to respond to a committee subpoena in its impeachment investigation—refused to answer most of the Democrats’ questions.
Some Democrats said they wanted Lewandowski held in contempt immediately during the hearing, according to CNN—and there’s still a chance the committee could vote to do so.
Largely a symbolic rebuke, enforcing the contempt charge would require that the Justice Department agree to prosecute.
That is an unlikely scenario since the House also voted in July to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt—with four Democrats opposed and Republican defector Justin Amash, I-Mich, voting alongside the remainder in support.
Other Democrats questioned why the committee subpoenaed Lewandowski in the first place.
Many of the 2018 gains in the House that helped give it the majority came from conservative districts that could easily flip back if moderate Democrats veer too far left.
The average American doesn’t care Lewandowski has to say to begin with, said Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-NY, one of the four blue dog Democrats who also opposed Barr’s contempt charge. (The others were Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.)
“If I’m sitting at home, as a person who’s struggling to pay for my insulin, I’m saying to myself, ‘What the heck is going on in Washington?’” Brindisi said. “It seems like nothing is getting done. Democrats and Republicans continue to fight. It’s a sideshow.”
He said the hearing was contentious, unproductive and bogged down by procedural votes.
Even Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., an outspoken advocate for impeachment, agreed Lewandowski should not have been the committee’s first witness in its new round of impeachment hearings.
“I think that there are some others who should have come first,” Waters told CNN.
“I didn’t think that he was necessarily the best one,” she said, “but since he was there I think that what came out of it was his attitude, something about his character and the way that he disrespected the committee.”
Waters, the chair of the House Financial Committee, is no stranger to unruly proceedings. After appearing baffled and disorganized during an April hearing with the heads of six leading banks, Waters had a tense exchange with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who asked to leave before adjournment because he was late for an important meeting.
Power struggles and partisan upmanship aside, Democrats’ internal disagreements over Lewandowski reflect the party’s divide over impeachment and its potential impact on next year’s election.
Establishment Democrats—led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.—have been hesitant to move forward with impeachment, while radical progressives in the House have been pushing for an official vote for months.
The whole controversy is “disruptive,” complained House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who said Democrats need to be more clear about their impeachment strategy moving forward, expressing his support for Nadler’s ongoing pursuit of a smoking gun to take down Trump.
“I think it could be clearer, but always the message could be clearer,” he said. “But I think the message is pretty clear. The Judiciary Committee is doing what it’s constitutionally supposed to do.”
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.