Ex-Trump aide Lewandowski refuses to face Russia probe again, Democrat says, threatening to ‘compel’ him
Corey Lewandowski, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, is refusing to appear for a second time before the House Intelligence Committee, according to the panel’s top Democrat, who wants him forced to appear under subpoena.
Representative Adam Schiff noted Wednesday that Lewandowski’s refusal comes the same week that former White House strategist Steve Bannon won a delay for the second time of his return under subpoena to appear before the panel that’s looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Lewandowski had been expected to return for a second, voluntary session behind closed doors to answer questions from the committee that he declined to answer in his January 17 appearance – those touching on any topic after his departure from Trump’s presidential campaign. Schiff said Lewandowski now is refusing to return.
“Over the past several weeks, we have seen a developing pattern: Some witnesses have been postponed, others cancelled, and two specifically have refused to answer questions about the events in the period following the election of Donald Trump as President,” Schiff said in a statement. “It will therefore be necessary for our committee to enforce the subpoena on Bannon, and now move to compel Lewandowski’s testimony.”
The committee’s Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, referred questions to the lead Republican in its Russia investigation, Mike Conaway, who didn’t immediately respond.
Lewandowski was fired as Trump’s campaign manager on June 20, 2016. In his earlier appearance, he wouldn’t answer questions about events and conversations after that because the White House might later assert executive privilege, an argument previously advanced before Congress by Bannon as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Republicans on the committee, including Peter King of New York, said they agreed Lewandowski should be given time to prepare for questions he might not have anticipated.
Bannon’s interview has been delayed until next week. He has told the House Intelligence Committee that he would show up if an agreement could be reached with the White House on the scope of the questioning, according to two people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity to discuss it.