The real excitement came, however, after the media decided it was all chaos and Democrats had accomplished nothing. Democrats’ counsel Barry Berke got 30 minutes to question Lewandowski and made the most of it.
Here’s what he accomplished:
1. Berke forced Lewandowski to acknowledge that when he said on national television multiple times he would “voluntarily” appear before special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, that was false. Berke demonstrated Lewandowski also lied when he said on TV he had not been asked to testify. Lewandowski asserted he had no obligation to tell the media (and the public) the truth.
2. Berke made plain that Lewandowski took the Fifth and refused to testify for the special counsel unless granted immunity. He also showed Lewandowski clips of him publicly stating that when you take the Fifth, you’ve done something wrong.
3. Berke established that before asking Lewandowski to take a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the White House just so happened to dangle a White House job before him.
4. Berke established that Lewandowski was absolutely loyal to Trump yet never delivered the message.
5. Berke also established that Lewandowski wanted to have a private meeting with Sessions so there would be no record.
In short, Berke made perfectly clear that Lewandowski’s actions (refusing to deliver Trump’s instructions, demanding immunity, lying on TV, creating no record) demonstrated he knew he was being asked to do something wrong or illegal.
Now, that doesn’t show Trump thought he was doing something illegal, but Berke did underscore a finding of the Mueller report (which few read) that Trump instructed Lewandowski to talk to Sessions to curtail the Russia investigation. This is one of the clearest instances of obstruction, one that Mueller found met all the elements of the crime of obstruction. And along the way, Berke demonstrated that Lewandowski, who declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, is a habitual liar who thinks nothing of lying publicly as long as he is not under oath.
Berke reminded us that if competent counsel does the questioning, we can vividly see the impeachable acts that Trump already committed and continues to this day to commit. We learned, although it’s been in the report and played out every day, that the impeachable acts are rather easy to understand. Former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance was more succinct. “The law won,” she said.
It’s also obvious why Trump is pulling out all the stops to prevent the testimony of former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who is witness to much more damning evidence documented in the Mueller report. Even without McGahn, there already are two simple, easy-to-understand grounds for impeachment:
Article I: Trump used a private intermediary to instruct Sessions to stop investigating Trump and Trump’s campaign.
Article II: Trump repeatedly instructed witnesses not to cooperate with Congress’s investigation of potential impeachable acts without any legal basis.
Hey, not bad for one afternoon. I look forward to Berke’s next inquisition.