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Lewandowski says he’ll happily appear before Judiciary panel next month and defend Trump

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski departs after appearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in March 2018.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski departs after appearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in March 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
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Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Friday that he is “happy to come” testify publicly before the House Judiciary Committee next month and will vigorously defend the president in front of a panel seeking to build a case for impeachment.

Lewandowski was subpoenaed Thursday as part of the committee’s attempt to focus public attention on episodes of possible obstruction of justice by President Trump that were detailed in former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian election interference.

“They didn’t have to subpoena me,” Lewandowski said during an interview on Fox News Radio. “They could have just said, ‘Hey Corey, will you show up?’ I’m happy to come, right, because I want to explain that there was no collusion, that there was no obstruction.”

“I am an open book,” he added. “I want to go and remind the American people that these guys are on a witch hunt, right.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski declined to answer some questions from House investigators in March 2018. (Video: The Washington Post)

Trump touts a possible Lewandowski Senate bid from N.H., calling him ‘a fantastic guy’

Lewandowski’s summons to testify to Congress comes as he mulls a Republican bid to challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) with the backing of Trump.

During the interview Friday on “The Brian Kilmeade Show,” Lewandowski said he plans to make a final decision about whether to run in early October, after seeing the third-quarter fundraising reports of other Republican candidates in the race.

“If they don’t have the fundraising prowess to compete with Jeanne Shaheen . . . then I think there is a real need for a candidate like me to get in this race,” Lewandowski told guest host Mary Walter.

The Judiciary panel’s move to compel testimony from Lewandowski is part of a new strategy by the committee to summon leading witnesses in the Mueller report whose appearances the White House will have a more difficult time preventing.

Democrats argue, for instance, that because Lewandowski did not officially work in the Trump administration, the White House cannot assert privilege over his testimony to stop him from answering questions publicly.

According to the Mueller report, Trump twice asked Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, to persuade then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of the Mueller probe. Lewandowski told Mueller’s team that Trump “told him that if Sessions did not meet with him, Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired.”

Lewandowski, who said he never delivered the message to Sessions, would later ask ex-White House official Rick Dearborn to deliver it for him, according to the Mueller report. Dearborn also would not do it and told Mueller’s team that it made him “uncomfortable.”

The Judiciary Committee has also subpoenaed Dearborn to appear next month.

Trump on Thursday gave a boost to Lewandowski’s potential Senate run, telling a local radio station that his former presidential campaign manager is “a fantastic guy” who “would be a great senator.”

At a Manchester, N.H., campaign rally later Thursday, Trump continued to talk up Lewandow­ski’s potential candidacy.

“He’s tough and he’s smart, and I’m hearing he’s thinking about running for the Senate from New Hampshire,” Trump said of Lewandowski, who had greeted Trump after Air Force One landed earlier Thursday in Manchester.

During Friday’s radio interview, Lewandowski said his family was present for the meeting and that Trump relayed how important their support would be if he moves forward with a Senate bid.

Rachael Bade and Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.