SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Before a whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine’s president was made public, some Democrats were still exploring impeachment without the support of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
In September 2019, there was a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee looking into impeachment with a completely different topic: the 2016 election.
Corey Lewandowski was at the center of that September hearing.
“I’ve testified six times baby, I love it, OK,” Lewandowski said told KELOLAND News in Sioux Falls on Wednesday. “I’ve testified in front of Nadler’s committee if you remember for nine hours if you remember, I sat there and then they said Mr. Lewandowski has requested a bathroom break and I said ‘No, I didn’t.’ They literally lie about everything in front of these committees.”
Exactly one week later, the tides would change and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would open the door to an impeachment inquiry.
The former 2016 Trump campaign manager was in South Dakota’s largest city just hours after the first public impeachment hearings for the President he helped elect.
“DC’s a terrible swamp. Look, we’ve seen this. We’ve seen that they have divided the nation because they have continued to pursue this fake impeachment against the President for no crimes, no misdemeanors,” he said.
Lewandowski is against the inquiry from House Democrats against Trump.
“As the American people watch this, it’s a snoozefest and they got to say, that’s it,” he said.
The former campaign manager was fired in the summer before the election but remains close with Trump. He said he was delivering a message from Trump at the 38th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner.
President Trump recorded a video message from The White House for the event.
In an interview with local media at the event, Lewandowski followed in line with much of the Republican defense that was seen in Wednesday’s televised hearings.
“The American public today is able to see for the first time the witness who was supposed to present testimony against this President, but what they saw instead were two individuals who stood in front of Congress and said they never spoke to the President. So, their star witnesses were two individuals who never spoke to the President,” he said.
The two witnesses were top American Ukraine diplomat William Taylor and Career Foreign Service officer George Kent.
Taylor was prodded by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee about his lack of contact with the President and being a star witness. The West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran who has served under both Republican and Democratic Presidents pushed back.
“I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything,” he said.
Lewandowski argued that the hearings are pulling Congress away from infrastructure, the opioid crisis and health care.
“I’m very disappointed for the country, candidly. There’s a lot of work that Congress can be doing right now,” Lewandowski said.
He pointed to a debunked statement that Democrats issued more subpoenas than they have passed bills.
“If you look statistically, they’ve issued more subpoenas than they have passed bills this cycle and I think that’s going to come back to haunt them in 2020,” Lewandowski said.
That claim has been made by several Republicans, but non-partisan PolitiFact said that’s false. According to Congress.gov, the U.S. House has passed 572 bills in this session. That doesn’t include bills that have been signed into law or on Trump’s desk. Meanwhile, a Democratic spokesperson told PolitiFact last week that Democrats had issued 47 subpoenas.
This isn’t the first time Lewandowski has said unproven rumors. In the September hearing, Lewandowski admitted under oath to lying to journalists.
“I have no obligation to be honest with the media because they’re just as dishonest as anyone else,” he said during his testimony.
Lewandowski also railed against Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-MA).
“We heard from Adam Schiff that this was going to be a bi-partisan impeachment, but the truth is, it hasn’t been. This is strictly along partisan lines and people are too smart to realize for this what it is, which is the sham that everyone knows it is,” he said in Sioux Falls on Wednesday.
Lewandowski, who has reportedly been planning a run for U.S. Senate, said he read the partial transcript of the now-infamous phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky released by The White House.
He said there is no quid pro quo.
“There was nothing wrong here and here’s the real issue: if we’re going to open what I call Pandora’s box, which is the president having conversations with other world leaders, then let’s do that and go look at what Barack Obama said when he put $400 million in cash on a bunch of pallets and sent it to Iran, when he had the conversation with the president of Iran. No one wants to talk about that,” Lewandowski said.
The Obama administration did fly $400 million in cash to Iran, but it was Iran’s own money. The Associated Press reports, “in the 1970s, Iran paid the U.S. $400 million for military equipment that was never delivered because the government was overthrown and diplomatic relations ruptured.”
When the Iran nuclear deal was passed, the U.S. Government announced that it would be returning the money plus interest.
Lewandowski also wants Congress to look into 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
CBS News reports Hunter Biden was reportedly paid $50,000 to $80,000 a month for several years while serving on Ukrainian gas company Burisma’s board.
“You know that issue was raised to the Vice President’s office and he said, ‘I don’t have time to deal with it,'” Lewandowski said.
Joe Biden told CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell on 60 Minutes last month that he did his job without any concern about his son Hunter’s role with Burisma.
“I don’t tell my grown son what he can do, as long as whatever he’s doing is appropriate,” Biden said.
No wrongdoing by either Biden has been substantiated, the AP reports.
Lewandowski doesn’t believe he will be called back to testify in the official impeachment inquiry but said he would be happy to go back in front of Congress.