A look at Corey Lewandowski’s role in the Mueller report
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, testified Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee in what the panel labeled its first official impeachment hearing.
Lewandowski, who sparred with Democrats throughout the hearing and provided little new information, appears frequently in the special counsel’s report, which the committee is investigating. Mueller investigated several episodes for obstruction of justice, including some involving Lewandowski, and concluded that he could not exonerate Trump on the matter.
The committee also subpoenaed former Trump aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter to testify, but they did not appear after the White House ordered them to defy the subpoenas.
A look at some of what was said about Lewandowski, Dearborn and Porter in Mueller’s report:
Lewandowski was fired from Trump’s campaign in 2016 and never worked for the White House, but he remained an outside adviser to Trump and frequently met with him. It was in one of those unofficial meetings in 2017, according to Mueller’s report, that Trump asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump asked Lewandowski to tell Sessions that he should publicly announce that Mueller’s probe was unfair to Trump and to tell the public that he would meet with Mueller and direct him to refocus the probe on future elections.
Lewandowski never delivered the message — he said in the hearing that he went on vacation — and stored the notes in a safe in his home.
The president met with Lewandowski again in July 2017 and asked for an update, according to the report. At that meeting Trump said that if Sessions would not meet with Lewandowski, then Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired.
Lewandowski told Trump his message would be delivered soon and asked White House aide Rick Dearborn — a former Sessions Senate aide — to pass it along instead.
Dearborn, a former White House deputy chief of staff, came to the Trump operation through his association with Sessions. And Lewandowski felt that he would be the best person to deliver the bad news from Trump to his former boss.
According to Mueller’s report, Dearborn recalled telling Lewandowski “that he had handled the situation,” but he did not actually deliver Trump’s message to Sessions or keep a typewritten note Lewandowski had given him.
Dearborn told Mueller’s investigators that the message “definitely raised an eyebrow” for him, and “he recalled not wanting to ask where it came from or think further about doing anything with it.” He said being asked to serve as a messenger to Sessions made him uncomfortable.
Rob Porter, a former staff secretary in the White House, was in the room for several episodes investigated by Mueller’s team. He also took contemporaneous notes that were detailed throughout the report.
Porter told Mueller’s investigators that Trump asked him to “keep in touch with” the then-No. 3 official at the Justice Department, Rachel Brand, suggesting that she could become attorney general. Porter realized that meant that Trump would fire Sessions as well as the No. 2 at the department, Rod Rosenstein, who had appointed Mueller.
“In asking him to reach out to Brand, Porter understood the president to want to find someone to end the Russia investigation or fire the special counsel, although the president never said so explicitly,” Mueller’s investigators wrote. “Porter did not contact Brand because he was sensitive to the implications of that action and did not want to be involved in a chain of events associated with an effort to end the investigation or fire the special counsel.”
Another time, Trump told Porter that he wanted then-White House counsel Don McGahn to write a letter to dispute reports that Trump had ordered McGahn to fire Mueller. McGahn dismissed the suggestion, telling Porter the reports were true.
Porter resigned last year after public allegations of domestic violence by his two ex-wives.