Joseph Wyatt: Lewandowski circus ends in admission of Trump obstruction (Opinion)

If you missed the House Judiciary Committee testimony of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, be patient. The circus will come to town and you can call it even. Democrats attempted to get answers from the squirmy Lewandowski, while Republicans disgraced themselves by letting on as if possible criminal activity by a president is a triviality.

Certainly, the format of questioning by the House committee was awful — alternating five-minute rounds of questions that were marked by Democrats’ efforts to pry a cogent response from Lewandowski and, in turn, by Republican members using their time to ooze manufactured indignation at the thought of a Trump official having to tell the truth. Both Lewandowski and the Republicans stalled, circle talked, wailed and tore out their hair, all in an evident effort to protect the confabulator-in-chief.

As if to confirm that they know the president obstructed justice, during the first 30 minutes, the Republicans attempted to shut down the questioning before it began by forcing several procedural votes that came to nothing. Similarly, Lewandowski pretended he couldn’t recall major incidents that are described in the Mueller Report and at times he boorishly interrupted and snapped at Democratic questioners.

We know from the Mueller Report that Donald Trump asked Lewandowski to order Attorney General Jeff Sessions to either put the clamps on the Mueller investigation or be fired. As a former law enforcement officer, Lewandowski surely knew that Trump’s directive was an illegal effort to derail Muller’s lawful probe. That probably explains Lewandowski’s verbal agreement to do the dirty deed, only to quietly chuck the president’s demand.

To avoid getting at whether the president tried to obstruct justice, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee asked Lewandowski obtuse questions such as, “Are you an agent of the Russian government?” The GOP members performed as if spending time to determine whether the actions of a president were crooked was unimportant. They called the process “fake impeachment.” One of them ranted about the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin while another droned on about Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Following the futility of the alternating questions, a Democratic staff attorney was able to question Lewandowski continuously for 30 minutes. Thus unable to maintain his disgusting stall, Lewandowski admitted that he had lied when, during a television interview, he had said the president never asked him to deliver the unlawful message to Attorney General Sessions. Which was to say that the president had, indeed, attempted to obstruct justice.

Lewandowski held out as long as he could. He was an eel on meth, shifty, avoidant, saying he hadn’t delivered the illegal message to Sessions because “it wasn’t a priority,” then admitting that, while he was on television denying Trump’s evidently illegal actions, he had not been required to tell the truth to a TV audience.

I found myself wishing that one of the House members had reminded Lewandowski that he might be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer many of their questions. If that had happened, Lewandowski might have taken comfort in the fact that it would then be up to Trump lapdog William Barr to pursue such a charge. If that eases Lewandowski’s troubled mind, he might consider that William Barr will not be the attorney general forever.

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail contributing columnist and an emeritus professor

at Marshall University.

Funerals for Saturday, October 19,2019

Alexander, Jeanette - 11 a.m., Stockert-Paletti Funeral Home, Flatwoods.

Anderson, Dolores - 3 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Basham, Harry - 11 a.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.

Bell, Don - 2 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Brown, Michele - 1 p.m., Grace Bible Church, Charleston.

Dooley, Ronnie - 2 p.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Dunbar, Jessie - 2 p.m., Ripley Church of Christ, Ripley.

Goodall, Emma - 2 p.m., Memorial Funeral Home, Princeton.

Grose, Roland - 1 p.m., Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay.

Hedrick, Josephine - 1 p.m., Smathers Funeral Chapel, Rainelle.

Hopkins, Betty - 1 p.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.

Hunt, Betty - 1:30 p.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Jarrell, Linda - 2:30 p.m., Memory Gardens, Madison.

Jarvis, Monuey - 2 p.m., Unity Gospel Tabernacle, Nebo.

Lewis, Evelyn - 1 p.m., Cross Lanes Baptist Church, Cross Lanes.

McClanahan, Patricia - 2 p.m., Goff-McClanahan Cemetery, Charleston.

McDaniel, Janet - 1 p.m., Norway Avenue Church of Christ Activity Building, Huntington.

Midkiff, Ned - 2 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Mills, Harry - 1 p.m., Emmanuel Baptist Church, Charleston.

Neil Jr., Fred - 1 p.m., Jodie Missionary Baptist Church, Jodie.

O'Dell, Claytus - 2 p.m., Wallace & Wallace Chapel, Rainelle.

O'Leary, David - 11 a.m., Memory Gardens, Madison.

Park, Emily - 11 a.m., Old Stone Presbyterian Church, Lewisburg.

Rice, Katherine - 1 p.m., Bigson Freewill Baptist Church, Van.

White, Ella - Noon, Charleston Baptist Temple, Charleston.