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Corey Lewandowski: Ex-Trump aide stonewalls impeachment hearing

A former Trump campaign manager has lashed out at Democrats during the first congressional hearings to explore possible impeachment of the president.

Corey Lewandowski repeatedly refused to answer questions during an ill-tempered House of Representatives session that devolved into shouting matches.

One Democratic lawmaker called for Mr Lewandowski to be held in contempt of the proceedings.

President Donald Trump praised Mr Lewandowski's "beautiful" remarks.

Mr Lewandowski testified under oath on Tuesday before the House judiciary committee, which had issued him with a legal summons, known as a subpoena, to give evidence.

In fractious exchanges with Democrats, he said he could not answer any question about his conversations with Mr Trump.

On the eve of the hearing, the White House had instructed Mr Lewandowski not divulge his discussions with the president.

White House lawyers sat behind Mr Lewandowski during the session.

He was fired by Mr Trump in June 2016 and never worked in the White House, but remains a staunch supporter.

The president's fellow Republicans criticised the Democratic-controlled committee hearing as unfair and unsuccessfully moved to adjourn it.

Top Republican Doug Collins tweeted: "In the absence of a proper floor vote to authorise an impeachment inquiry, today's business represents a regular oversight hearing, masquerading as impeachment to appease a liberal base".

Mr Lewandowski was asked about his testimony last July to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who investigated the president.

The Mueller report did not determine that Mr Trump had conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 US election, but it presented evidence that the president attempted to thwart the justice department inquiry.

Mr Lewandowski confirmed the report was "accurate" in noting that Mr Trump had once asked him to help encourage the attorney general to limit the Mueller investigation.

But he told the committee that he went to the beach with his family and so was unable to do the president's bidding.

Mr Lewandowski also told the panel he did not believe the president had asked him to do anything illegal.

When Democrat Hank Johnson suggested Mr Lewandowski had "chickened out", he replied: "I went on vacation."

Congressman Eric Swalwell repeatedly asked Mr Lewandowski to read aloud his evidence to Mr Mueller, but the witness refused.

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