JONATHAN TURLEY

Lewandowski Refuses To Answer Post-Campaign Questions Before The House Intelligence Committee

 

The day after the dubious refusal of Steve Bannon to answer questions before the House Intelligence Committee, Corey Lewandowski refused to answer lawmakers’ questions after pledging to answer any and all questions.  Lewandowski said that he was not prepared to answer questions concerning the period following his campaign tenure.  That is not a recognized basis to refuse to answer congressional questions. It ranks with “my dog ate my notes” as a basis for remaining silent.  He can always answer questions by saying that he does not recall but the basis for refusing to answer is highly problematic.

In the interview the day before, Lewandowski insisted that he would answer every questions to “the best of my recollection” and looked forward to the opportunity.

That intent seemed to change once he got inside of the Committee room.

On this one, the members were right to be angry.  Lewandowski can always correct or augment his testimony. He can add caveat or declare no recollection. The one option that he does not have is to simply refuse to answer because he wants to think about it more.  Notably, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn also testified and did not refuse to answer such post-campaign questions.

Lewandowski could well face contempt sanctions for such a refusal to answer without a claim of privilege or invocation under the Fifth Amendment.  It is unlikely that he will produce such an action at this time, but he would be wise to come prepared to answer any and all questions on his return visit.