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Lewandowski hearing was a disaster

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) floats holding President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in contempt during a heated impeachment hearing.

Posted: Sep 17, 2019 11:20 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2019 11:20 PM

Corey Lewandowski's congressional testimony on Tuesday highlighted the fundamental paradox facing the House Judiciary Committee. On one hand, Lewandowski -- despite openly antagonizing House Democrats and preening for his Republican cronies -- testified fairly casually about misconduct by President Donald Trump that, in normal times, would be presidency-defining (and potentially presidency-ending). On the other hand, Lewandowski's testimony changed little about the longer-term prospects of impeachment.

Through all the sarcasm, personal insults, and tortured debate about Congressional procedure, Lewandowski confirmed that Trump instructed him to have then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions intervene in, and derail, a criminal investigation of Trump and his close associates. This is a big deal -- or should be. But it also was nothing new. The entire summer 2017 episode is set forth in detail in the Mueller report. Lewandowski's testimony simply confirms that Mueller got it right -- contrary to the repeated claims of Lewandowski's chief benefactor Trump, who has repeatedly attacked Mueller's impartiality and veracity.

Lewandowski was a truly horrible witness. His demeanor was the stuff of a trial lawyer's nightmares. He was angry, combative, sarcastic, and more intent on getting off personal insults and pumping up his impending Senate campaign than actually answering questions or getting Congress or the public any closer to truth. When questioned by Republicans, he was an eager beaver, responsive and sharp. When questioned by Democrats, he turned hostile and suddenly seemed unable to hear, read, understand, or respond to even the simplest question.

And Lewandowski's credibility is trash. He gave laughably implausible explanations for any conduct that suggested impropriety by Trump. For example, when asked why he did not transmit Trump's initial message to Sessions, Lewandowski glibly responded that he went on vacation instead. That's not an answer, that's a non sequitor. Obviously, Lewandowski could have delivered the message before or after vacation. Plainly, Lewandowski did not deliver the message because he knew Trump's message to Sessions was wrong and illegal. And he invoked the White House's legally unsupportable "privilege" -- "the White House has directed me not to disclose the subject of any discussion..." -- only selectively, whenever he wanted to dodge.

While Lewandowski's performance on Tuesday was an abomination, it is the fault of House Democrats that it probably won't make a dent. Here's the problem: House Democrats -- particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- have set the bar impossibly high by claiming publicly that "The public isn't there on impeachment" and that impeaching Trump is "just not worth it."

By those statements, House Democrats essentially have conceded the Mueller report is not enough -- perhaps politically more than legally -- and there needs to be something more to proceed. But there very likely won't be evidence relating to Russian interference or obstruction beyond what's already in the Mueller report. House Democrats have set themselves up for failure.

Moving forward, House Democrats need to address this question squarely: Is the conduct in the Mueller report enough to impeach? If so, then why are we wasting time with the kind of absurd hearing we saw on Tuesday? (Note: they don't need more -- the House impeached President Bill Clinton based on the written report of Independent Counsel Ken Starr, without calling live witnesses). And if not, they're not going to magically get some brand new, previously unknown smoking gun, especially not from partisan, dishonest favor-seekers like Lewandowski.

House Democrats need to make a tough decision. Will they continue to slow-play this process and shy away from impeachment because of the perceived political downside? Or will they take bold action to uphold the oath of office and defend the Constitution, whatever the speculative political cost? All indications are they will stay on the former road. And if so, we can expect plenty more hearings like Tuesday's: plenty of sound and fury, ample evidence of wrongdoing and abuse of power, and no meaningful consequence.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 560450

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1167211690
Ramsey48313858
Dakota42928423
Anoka38965419
Washington25195274
Stearns21198219
St. Louis16926298
Scott16187118
Wright14964128
Olmsted1282897
Sherburne1072580
Carver993045
Clay787390
Rice7701102
Blue Earth704240
Kandiyohi631381
Crow Wing624286
Chisago554750
Otter Tail547673
Benton536697
Mower453032
Goodhue448572
Douglas446071
Winona439549
Nobles401948
Morrison397559
McLeod397255
Isanti382559
Itasca379053
Beltrami375457
Polk367967
Steele366214
Becker359448
Lyon349748
Carlton331152
Freeborn329629
Pine313821
Nicollet310343
Brown295639
Mille Lacs285450
Le Sueur273822
Todd270030
Cass252526
Meeker239137
Waseca231921
Martin215230
Wabasha20003
Roseau198319
Hubbard174441
Renville172943
Dodge17253
Redwood166735
Houston162714
Cottonwood158221
Fillmore15229
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Chippewa147537
Wadena145821
Faribault145519
Sibley137110
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Watonwan12609
Rock123419
Jackson118210
Yellow Medicine111319
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Pope10386
Murray10319
Swift100418
Marshall85817
Stevens83310
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Wilkin77312
Lac qui Parle73922
Big Stone5764
Lincoln5613
Grant5528
Norman5229
Mahnomen5178
Unassigned48678
Kittson46822
Red Lake3877
Traverse3625
Lake of the Woods3073
Cook1480

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359450

Reported Deaths: 5839
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56274608
Linn20392330
Scott19245236
Black Hawk15611306
Woodbury14960221
Johnson1415481
Dubuque13196203
Dallas1094596
Pottawattamie10804162
Story1035747
Warren559186
Clinton541791
Cerro Gordo524987
Webster508792
Sioux507873
Marshall477575
Muscatine463297
Des Moines443165
Wapello4255121
Buena Vista422140
Jasper408470
Plymouth398779
Lee369255
Marion355775
Jones293455
Henry286837
Carroll280152
Bremer279860
Crawford262840
Boone259633
Benton251155
Washington249850
Dickinson243743
Mahaska225750
Jackson218942
Kossuth213763
Clay212325
Tama206971
Delaware204539
Winneshiek194933
Page190721
Buchanan189031
Cedar185023
Fayette183541
Hardin181942
Wright180635
Hamilton178449
Harrison176673
Clayton167355
Butler162734
Mills159020
Cherokee157738
Floyd156242
Lyon155341
Madison154819
Poweshiek153233
Allamakee149351
Iowa146224
Hancock144234
Winnebago136931
Grundy135532
Cass135154
Calhoun133411
Jefferson131235
Emmet129940
Shelby129037
Sac128419
Louisa127349
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125441
Union123332
Chickasaw122715
Guthrie118529
Humboldt118426
Franklin113121
Palo Alto111323
Howard102922
Montgomery101537
Unassigned10040
Clarke98524
Keokuk95031
Monroe94528
Ida90133
Adair84832
Pocahontas84121
Monona81430
Davis79924
Osceola77116
Greene76710
Lucas75723
Worth7138
Taylor65412
Fremont6169
Decatur5919
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53624
Wayne52123
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