The White House has instructed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski not to testify before Congress Tuesday about conversations he had with President Donald Trump or White House advisers that are not discussed in the special counsel’s report.
Lewandowski is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, which is conducting an impeachment inquiry regarding potential Trump obstruction of justice. The White House ordered two other former White House advisers, Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter, not to appear for the hearing.
“The White House has directed Mr. Lewandowski not to discuss the substance of any conversations he had with the president or senior presidential advisers about official government matters, unless the information is expressly contained in the report,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.
“We are adhering to the well-established lines protecting the confidentiality of presidential communications to ensure that future Presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the Office of President.” (RELATED: Corey Lewandowski Opens Up About Possible Senate Run)
Despite the restrictions, lawmakers will be able to ask Lewandowski about a portion of the special counsel’s report dealing with the investigation into whether the president tried to obstruct the Russia probe.
According to the report, Trump asked Lewandowski, who has never held a White House job, to pressure then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the Russia probe. Lewandowski declined to pass the message to Sessions, according to the report. He asked Dearborn to convey the message, but the White House adviser also declined to do so.
The special counsel’s office declined to make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice. Prosecutors did determine that there was no evidence that anyone on the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Nadler blasted the White House decision regarding Lewandowski, Dearborn and Porter.
“This is a shocking and dangerous assertion of executive privilege and absolute immunity,” he said in a statement.
“The President would have us believe that he can willfully engage in criminal activity and prevent witnesses from testifying before Congress — even if they did not actually work for him or his administration.”
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