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READ: Opening statement by Corey Lewandowski at House hearing

The House Judiciary Committee is holding its first impeachment investigation hearing on Tuesday, September 17. Here is the opening statement of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski:

Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Collins, members of the committee, good afternoon. I'd like to start off by expressing my hope that today's hearing will be productive in revealing the truth both to the committee and to the American people.

For the record, as you likely know, I have already testified before Congress on three separate occasions.

I also sat at length with the staff of the special counsel's office. There too, my time and answers were given freely and without hesitation. I think, in one form or another I have already answered questions for well over 20 hours.

So, now here I am before the House Judiciary Committee to answer the same questions again. Just last week, this committee -- over the objections of the minority -- unilaterally changed the rules to make this an impeachment proceeding, which is very unfair. However, in the spirit of cooperation I am prepared to move forward.

I'd like to start by recounting the events that brought us to this point—my story of joining the Trump campaign, working through a historic election, and continuing to have the privilege to be part of the greatest political movement in our nation's history.

I present this summary in the interest of truth and transparency to the American people—the very same reason and rationale that this committee offers as the basis for today's hearing.

Growing up in a blue collar, single-parent family in Lowell, Massachusetts, I learned the value of hard work. That work ethic helped me to put myself through both college and graduate school prior to becoming a congressional staffer and ultimately a certified peace officer in the state of New Hampshire. However, the world of politics was always a passion.

In January of 2015, Donald J. Trump, then a private citizen, hired me to help him explore a possible run for the presidency. It was an honor and a privilege to play a small part of such a historic campaign.

The campaign started as a small group of individuals helping Mr. Trump to make the decision in June 2015 to ride down the golden escalator and seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

For more than a year, I served as campaign manager to then-candidate Trump in his presidential campaign -- where I led a lean and dedicated operation that succeeded in helping him capture the Republican nomination.

My job was simple. Provide Mr. Trump with my best advice, spend his money like it was my own and give him the support he needed to win. I also set long-term objectives and made day-to-day decisions.

I had the privilege, and it was a privilege, of helping transform the Trump campaign from a dedicated but small, makeshift organization to a historically and unprecedented political juggernaut.

I am proud to say, Mr. Trump won 38 primaries and caucuses and received more votes than any candidate in the history of the Republican party -- all while being outspent most of the way. The historic campaign helped Mr. Trump secure the Republican nomination and, ultimately, the Presidency of the United States. However, since election day, whether it was bad actors at the FBI and the intelligence community or lies coming from members of the current House Majority that there was evidence of collusion, the American people continue to be sold a false narrative with the purpose of undermining the legitimacy of the 2016 election results.

No matter the size, campaigns are not always the most efficient of organizations. While you run in a single congressional district, just imagine what it is like to lead a national campaign that spans all 50 States of the Union.

During my time as campaign manager, there were competing interests for the candidate's time, and a sea of ideas, some laudable, some sound, a few not so much. Many of which were dismissed out of hand. Others were passed on to other staffers to be handled.

I also received hundreds of thousands of emails, some days with as many as 1000 emails. And, unlike Hillary Clinton, I don't think I ever deleted any of those. Many of them were responded to with either one-word answers or forwarded to other staff for additional follow up.

Throughout it all, and to the best of my recollection, I don't recall ever having any conversations with foreign entities—let alone, any who were offering help to manipulate the outcome of the election. As I have said publicly many times, anyone who attempted to illegally impact the outcome of the election should spend the rest of their life in jail.

And let me also stress this fact: during the 2016 campaign cycle, Mr. Trump held no elected position. He was not a government official.

Rather, the Obama-Biden Administration and the intelligence community, overseen by James Clapper, Jim Comey, and John Brennan, had the responsibility to the American people to ensure the integrity of the 2016 election. I leave it to this committee and the American public to decide how successful -- or not -- they were in doing their jobs.

Regardless, as the special counsel determined, there was no conspiracy or collusion between the Trump campaign and any foreign government, either on my watch or afterward. Not surprisingly after the Mueller report was made public, interest in the Fake Russian collusion narrative has fallen apart.

Sadly, the country spent over three years and 40 million taxpayer dollars on these investigations. It is now clear the investigation was populated by many Trump haters who had their own agenda -- to try and take down a duly elected President of the United States. As for actual "collusion", or "conspiracy", there was none. What there has been however, is harassment of the President from the day he won the election.

In conclusion, this is a challenging time in our country. There are real issues to be faced and real people that this body can help. America's divisions are real, and yet I am hopeful that we as a country can come together.

The House Majority has failed the American people. Both by supporting illegal immigrants pouring across our borders killing innocent Americans and failing to solve the opioid crisis where 130 Americans die daily from overdoses—that's the equivalent of a 9/11 level tragedy occurring every 23 days.

We as a nation would be better served if elected officials like you concentrated your efforts to combat the true crises facing our country as opposed to going down rabbit holes like this hearing.

If instead of focusing on petty and personal politics, the committee focused on solving the challenges of this generation, imagine how many people we could help. Imagine how many lives we could save.

As I stated earlier, I have voluntarily appeared in front of Congress on three separate occasions and spoken to members of the special counsel's office for multiple hours.

I will continue to be forthright and cooperative and I will be as sincere in my answers as the Committee is in its questions.

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