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Trump former campaign manager stonewalls, frustrates Democrats in contentious Capitol Hill hearing

WQAD News -

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski antagonized Democrats and stonewalled their questions about obstruction of justice during the first official impeachment-related hearing on Capitol Hill in the wake of the Russia investigation.

The roughly six-hour House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday was so contentious, and yielded so little information, that the panel's Democratic chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, threatened to hold Lewandowski in contempt. Lewandowski appeared under subpoena but refused to answer dozens of key questions.

Democrats hoped the televised hearing would refocus public attention on former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which revealed evidence that Trump obstructed justice during his first year in office, Instead, the hearing rapidly deteriorated into partisan bickering as participants hurled insults in almost every direction and tangled over parliamentary procedure.

But between the barbs, partisan attacks and references to Lewindowski's possible New Hampshire US Senate campaign, the former Trump staffer occasionally disclosed new details about his role in an incident that Mueller examined for potential obstruction. He confirmed that Trump told him to order then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the Mueller investigation so that it would only look for future election meddling -- and stop probing his 2016 campaign.

"Jeff and I are friends socially, and I wanted to have the opportunity to have a meal with Jeff and relay the conversation" about limiting the Mueller probe, Lewandowski said about his attempts to convey Trump's message privately to Sessions, away from his Justice Department office.

The Mueller report said Lewandowski didn't meet Sessions and didn't carry out Trump's orders. But prosecutors analyzed Trump's involvement and concluded there was "substantial evidence" that his actions met the legal threshold for obstruction of justice. Mueller declined to decide whether Trump should face charges, and sitting presidents are shielded from prosecution."I think they hate this President more than they love their country," Lewandowski said of the Democrats.

Recent efforts by House Democrats to push forward with their own investigation of Trump's potential obstruction have largely been stymied by White House claims of executive privilege, uncooperative witnesses who still support Trump and lawsuits that are bogged down in court.

Tuesday's hearing offered little progress on any of those fronts and was bitterly divided from the start. Nadler, a New York Democrat, accused the White House of orchestrating "an absolute cover-up" by blocking some witnesses from appearing at the public session and trying to restrict Lewandowski's testimony based on "crony privilege."

"Mr. Lewandowski, your behavior in this hearing room has been completely unacceptable and it is part of a pattern by a White House desperate for the American people not to hear the truth," Nadler said, adding that contempt proceedings against him were "certainly under consideration."

After the hearing, Nadler told CNN that the hearing adds more weight for impeachment, harkening back to efforts to impeach Richard Nixon (Nixon resigned before he was impeached).

"Article 3 of Nixon's impeachment was obstruction of Congress, refusing to obey defined congressional subpoenas, pleading imaginary privilege," Nadler said. "And obviously that's what the President has been doing. Nixon wasn't foolish to say in advance that he's going to defy all congressional subpoenas ... and today we saw a witness instructed by the White House completely contemptuous of Congress who refused to answer relevant questions. Just another instance of obstruction of Congress and that's what Article 3 of the Nixon impeachment was."

Lewandowski used his opening statement to attack Democratic members of the committee, criticize Obama-era intelligence officials for not doing enough to stop Russian meddling, and stoke conspiracies about "Trump haters" in the government that wanted to bring down Trump. He even took a jab at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her email controversy.

Trump, who watched parts of the hearing aboard Air Force One, cheered on his former aide in a tweet, saying, "Such a beautiful Opening Statement by Corey Lewandowski! Thank you Corey!"

Few new details on obstruction

Mueller investigated 10 episodes involving Trump for potential obstruction of justice, and the incident with Lewandowski was one of those episodes. In the report, prosecutors analyzed whether each incident checked the three boxes needed to typically bring an obstruction charge.

Some of the incidents did not meet the threshold, and others were a close call. Prosecutors determined Trump's actions with Lewandowski checked all three boxes for obstruction: It was a distinct "obstructive act" that would hamper the investigation, the action was directly linked to an ongoing criminal probe, and there was "substantial evidence" of Trump's obstructive intent.

Lewandowski said under oath Tuesday that Mueller's report was "an accurate representation" of his conversations with Trump in summer 2017, when Trump wanted Sessions to stop Mueller from investigating the campaign and retool the probe to focus on meddling in future elections.

 

President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, arrives to testify before the House Judiciary Committee as part of a congressional investigation of the Trump presidency on September 17, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)

He also confirmed that Trump dictated to him the statement that Sessions was supposed to make to the public, clearing Trump of collusion and accusing Mueller of breaking the law.

But when it came time for Lewandowski to deliver that message to Sessions, he instead went on vacation, telling lawmakers, "I took my kids to the beach ... that was more of a priority."

"The President never asked me to do anything illegal," Lewandowski said.

By and large, Lewandowski refused to answer questions from Democrats. The White House had sent a letter on Monday to the committee saying that it was directing Lewandowski not to answer questions about his conversations with Trump, beyond what is in the Mueller report.

Lewandowski vehemently denied colluding with Russia, even though he was never formally accused of collusion. He criticized his onetime internal rival, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, for sharing internal polling data with a Russian associate. And he admitted that he never called the FBI after learning that a campaign adviser was in contact with Russians.

Partisan slugfest

The dramatic partisan split was on full display throughout the marathon hearing.

Democrats, who control the committee, traded insults with Lewandowski. One lawmaker said Lewandowski "chickened out" because he didn't follow Trump's questionable orders.

During a brief recess, Lewandowski's posted a link on Twitter to a new website that is promoting his potential Senate campaign next year in New Hampshire. One senior Democrat on the panel later called out Lewandowski for seemingly using the hearing to appeal to the GOP base.

"Let me remind you, Mr. Lewandowski, that this is not a Republican primary campaign," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who is the chairman of the Democratic caucus. "You are not on the campaign trail yet. This is the House Judiciary Committee. Act like you know the difference."

On the other side, Republicans hailed Lewandowski's prowess as the campaign manager for Trump's long-shot presidential bid. They tried to paint him as a sympathetic figure who has already given many hours of testimony to Mueller and a slate of congressional committees.

Republicans have spent their time mostly attacking Democrats, calling them the "Party of Impeachment," in Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe's words, and asking for hearings on other issues.

Rep. Jim Jordan, the firebrand Republican from Ohio, said lawmakers should investigate alleged abuses by the Justice Department and should not focus on impeachment. A growing number of Democrats publicly support impeachment, though not enough to pass a resolution.

"I think they hate this President more than they love their country," Lewandowski said of the Democrats, a comment that later drew consternation from Democratic members of the panel.

The committee also subpoenaed former White House aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter to appear Tuesday to testify about their role in the Lewandowski incident, and other matters that were mentioned in the Mueller report. They did not show up, and the White House previously claimed that both men are immune from testifying before Congress due to executive privilege.

The committee has objected to this rationale previously and is currently suing to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify after the White House made a similar claim when he was subpoenaed earlier this year. Similar proceedings could follow for Dearborn and Porter.

Worker who herded people out before explosion is called hero

WQAD News -

FARMINGTON, Maine (AP) — A maintenance manager was credited Tuesday with saving lives by evacuating a building before an explosion that gravely injured him, while investigators began examining the rubble to determine the cause and the firefighter who died was saluted.

Larry Lord emptied the building of "at least a dozen or so employees" when the odor of propane gas was detected just minutes before the powerful blast destroyed the building and killed a firefighter, Police Chief Jack Peck said Tuesday.

"Without his quick actions, I think it would've been a much more horrific tragedy," Peck told reporters.

Lisa Charles, who worked with LEAP but was not there at the time of the blast, said she is grateful Lord got her colleagues to safety.

"They got a warning from the maintenance guy," she said Monday, calling him a hero.

Her colleagues told her that they were taken to a safe area but that Lord went back inside with firefighters before the blast occurred.

In addition to the death of Fire Capt. Michael Bell, Lord and seven other people were injured when Monday's explosion leveled the two-story building that housed LEAP, a nonprofit that serves people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities.

Investigators from the Maine Fire Marshal's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began digging Tuesday through concrete, wood and debris for clues.

Part of the focus is on propane gas, which either caused the blast or must be ruled out, said Ken Grimes of the marshal's office.

He predicted the work will take about a week.

Firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement officers paused Tuesday to salute the fallen Bell, who was 68, as his body was returned from the state medical examiner's office with an escort.

Bell's brother, Fire Chief Terry Bell, and five other firefighters were also injured, as was an ambulance worker, officials said.

Six people remained hospitalized Tuesday in Portland and Boston, with Lord and three firefighters in critical condition, officials said.

Acting Farmington Fire Chief Tim Hardy said his own department and the community will get past the tragedy, but he said it will take time.

"We will recover from this," he said. "We'll come together and conquer this together."

Where’s the beef? Find out here

WQAD News -

MOLINE, Illinois--- Ag in the Classroom returned to Good Morning Quad Cities on National Cheeseburger Day, Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Cambridge FFA Chapter President Bradleigh Schaefer and Paula Janson, Agricultural Literacy Coordinator for the Henry County Farm Bureau, joined us with a a segment called, 'Where's the beef?'

"This lesson is going to point out everything the American farmer produces for us and hopefully, people will respect those products a little more," Schaefer said.

Find out more in the video above!

Car smashes into lobby of Trump Plaza in New York

WQAD News -

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (AP) — Police say a car has smashed through the glass-doored front lobby of the Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, New York.

Authorities told WABC-TV the incident Tuesday night does not appear to be intentional. They say there are no indications it was anything more than an accident.

The driver was injured and was being questioned by police. Two pedestrians in the lobby of the 40-story luxury residence in Westchester County were also hurt.

None of the injuries appeared to be serious.

Photos show the dark sedan sitting just inside the lobby as workers clean up debris.

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Relay, Bowl, Brews, and Pride

WQAD News -

BETTENDORF, Iowa – The John Deere Classic‘s Birdies for Charity Program needs your help raising money for its Bonus Fund. All you have to do is bowl!

Bowl for Birdies is taking place at High 5 Lanes & Games inside the TBK Bank Sports Complex from 2:30pm-10pm on Wednesday, September 18th. Birdies for Charity will receive 50% of the proceeds for bowling, laser tag, escape rooms, and arcade games. The money raised will go towards more than 500 charities across our area. For details, click here.

DAVENPORT, Iowa- Interested in a fun afternoon sampling beer along the Mississippi River? If so, we’ve got an event for you.

Brew Ha Ha takes place Saturday, September 21st, at the LeClaire Park Band-shell. Brew Ha Ha is a beer tasting event that raises money for local charities and features local comedy and live music. The event starts at 1 p.m. It goes until 5 p.m. Tickets cost $25 to $30. For ticket information, click here. 

BETTENDORF, Iowa – Walk with Angie this Saturday, September 21st!

The 2019 Relay for Life of the Quad Cities is taking place at Bettendorf High School from 4-9pm, with a Survivor Ceremony at 6pm and a Luminaria Ceremony at 8pm. The event is free and open to the public. There is still time to sign up and raise money for the American Cancer Society. For details, click here.

DAVENPORT, Iowa – This weekend marks the fifth annual Quad City Fall Pride Festival. It’s the third QC event of the year put on in celebration of those who identify as LGBTQIA. This year’s festival will take place in the neighborhood of 2nd Street and Warren in Davenport, in front of Mary’s on 2nd. The festival promises plenty of family activities during the day with food, art, and merchandise. In the evening there are drag shows, a pyrotechnic show, burlesque, and plenty of dancing.

There is a $15 cover charge which allows admission to both days of the festival and can be purchased at Mary’s on 2nd or at the gate. For more information, click on https://quadcitiespridefestivals.com/ or follow their Facebook page below.

THE CITIES PODCAST: A miracle park and surviving the flood

WQAD News -

Each week, News 8’s Jim Mertens talks with area leaders, entertainers, community activists, and interesting characters who are part of the fabric of life in “The Cities”.

THIS EPISODE:  Jim talks with the director of Davenport’s Parks and Rec Department Chad Dyson about the new Miracle Park.

The park is home to a fully accessible baseball field for disabled athletes.  But it’s also designed for much more.  Whose already making use of the diamond and how might the park host other events in the future.

Plus, reclaiming land after the flood.  Chad Dyson talks about efforts to restore LeClaire Park and Credit Island after being underwater for weeks.

And what might you expect in the year 2020 as Davenport Parks plan for upgrades?

You can catch entire episodes of “The Cities” on WQPT, public television for the Quad Cities region, Thursdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 4 p.m., and Mondays at 6 p.m.

“The Rust Belt” is attracting new businesses to East Moline

WQAD News -

EAST MOLINE, Illinois - Just down the hall from the music stage sits a new salon that is taking the identity of The Rust Belt beyond music.

The complex, which opened it's main music venue back in February, is now home to several new businesses.

A salon, Revival Mane, opened on August 8th. So far, they have hired six stylists and are currently planning on adding four more stylists by the end of October.

Manager Kate Anderson says the schedule has been full as more people in the community begin to appreciate new life inside of the once abandoned factory building.

"The people down here are awesome," said Anderson. "I've had a lot of older people come in here and they're just so happy that something has been done with this building in general because it just sat empty for so long."

The salon isn't alone in bringing new life and jobs into the old factory.

A new brewery, Midwest Ale Works, is also now open and an architecture firm has offices inside the building as well.

A Mexican restaurant, a gym, and a new coffee shop are also in the works but their opening dates have not yet been announced.

The site also hosts weddings and corporate events.

Revival Mane plans on adding a barber shop by the end of October. An additional three barbers will be hired onto the team.

"It`s just giving the area some exposure," said Anderson. "A lot of creative people, artistic people, all coming together for just like a fun little atmosphere down here."

A boost to business in an area full of opportunity.

Two Amish men caught drinking while driving buggy flee Ohio deputies

WQAD News -

NORTH BLOOMFIELD, Ohio – Police officers often say no traffic stop is routine and there was nothing routine when a deputy pulled over an Amish buggy early Sunday morning in North Bloomfield, Ohio.

The deputy was on patrol in the heart of Trumbull County's Amish community when he spotted a buggy uniquely outfitted with a large stereo system on Donley Road, WJW reports.

According to his report, he saw two Amish men drinking inside the buggy, a 12-pack of beer on top of the vehicle.

When the deputy attempted to stop and question the two men about drinking and driving, they jumped out of the buggy and ran, disappearing into a heavily wooded area on the side of the road. According to the report, the horse pulling the buggy took off running, and the deputy gave chase, eventually catching up with it a short distance away.

"I've never operated an Amish buggy with a horse, but I'm told that the horse will know the way home regardless of whether the operator is awake or even in the buggy, and that horse went a little further down the road and onto an oil/gas well road and stopped,” said Trumbull County Chief Deputy Joe Dragovich.

The deputy had the buggy towed from the scene and the horse was turned over to a local farmer for safekeeping until the owner can be identified.

In a rite of passage known as Rumspringa, younger members of the Amish community are permitted to experiment with influences from the outside world, but authorities in Trumbull County said they have a duty to enforce the law in Amish country the same way they do in the rest of the county.

"Unfortunately, they're not licensed as far as the buggy goes, but it is a vehicle, it's on the roadway and the OVI laws do apply. You're not allowed to drink and drive or operate a buggy," Dragovich said.

Once authorities identify the two members of the Amish community, they could be charged with failure to comply with the deputy’s commands.

“Maybe there's just that fear of the consequences and that would be a reality check for them, that there are consequences, but I encourage them to come forward and get their buggy and horse,” Dragovich said.

Best job ever? Make $1300 watching 13 Stephen King movies before Halloween

WQAD News -

Halloween is coming, but there’s still time for a lucky binge-watcher to score $1,300.

Dish Network retailer USDish.com will pay that person to watch 13 Stephen King movies before it’s time for trick-or-treating.

The movies included are:

  • Carrie (original or 2013 remake)
  • Children of the Corn
  • Christine
  • Creepshow
  • Cujo
  • Dreamcatcher
  • It (original or 2017 remake)
  • The Mist
  • Pet Sematary (original or 2019 remake)
  • Salem’s Lot
  • The Shining
  • Thinner
  • Misery

U.S. Dish will provide a Fitbit and other tools to help gather details about the experience:

You will track your heart rate and jump scares. You’ll let us know who joined in on the scares with you. You’ll let us know what you thought before watching certain movies, and if your feelings changed after you completed them. You’ll even log your sleep—if you can sleep. We want to know all this and more! We’ll provide a worksheet to help guide you along the way, but you’re not limited to what we give you—feel free to share your thoughts, like a journal, and give us all the frightening deets!

The company will also give a “survival kit” as well that includes a flashlight, blanket, popcorn, candy and Stephen King paraphernalia – along with the movies, of course.

To be eligible, you have to be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Social media sharing of the experience is encouraged, and the company would also like to know what attracted the applicant to the adrenaline-inducing movie marathon.

For more information about the promotion and application process, see the usdish.com website.

Donated blankets handed out to QC homeless

WQAD News -

On Tuesday, September 17 the Quad Cities got a little warmer thanks to a donation of 1200 blankets.

Local nonprofit organizations like King's Harvest and the Salvation Army picked up hundreds of blankets from the Moline township hall.

They were donated by the Defense Department to hand out to the homeless.

Each blanket is made of recycled materials and they're biodegradable.

This is the 17th year that Moline township is handing out these blankets.

Charges pending after Muscatine teen with special needs is punched at school

WQAD News -

Warning: This video may be difficult to watch

MUSCATINE, Iowa -- A Muscatine mom is looking to press charges after her son with special needs was beaten up while walking to class at Muscatine High School.

Vicky Zahn is just like any other mom - she never wants to see her child get bullied. But a video taken on Monday, September 16 through Snapchat began circulating on social media.

Zahn identified the boy wearing the red hoodie in the video as her youngest son Coby.  The other student's identity remains anonymous as he is a minor.

"He was walking down the hall, going to his first hour class," Zahn said describing the video. "This kid came running up behind him... I guess he hit him. My son said 'Dude!' And next thing you know it's pow pow."

Coby was punched several times and knocked up against hallway lockers.

"I think his head bounced off the locker, he hit the floor, and that's all I know," Zahn said.

Zahn said her son is special needs and is enrolled in Special Education classes at school.

"You don't do that to a handicapped child. My child is handicapped," Zahn said. "He didn't even have the chance to defend himself yesterday... at all."

Once Coby fell to the ground, the video shows him lying on the floor with his hands above his head as the other student continues to punch him. Zahn said her son eventually blacked out.

"I mean if they did (say) words, let's say they did, that's not a reason to do that to him," Zahn said.

Principal Terry Hogenson, with the Muscatine Community School District, issued a statement to parents saying in part:

"When an aggressive act occurs, we intervene as quickly as possible. We interview all the individuals involved, involve the police if necessary, and provide appropriate consequences. If an act is egregious enough, charges are filed. No act of aggression is dismissed or accepted within the school setting."

Zahn, however, wanted to take it one step further. She is now working with school resource officers to press assault charges.

"He's special to me," Zahn said. "He is the one that needs me the most out of all my kids... he doesn't know no better."

Zahn said Colby suffered a minor hematoma, when blood pools between the brain and its outermost covering. He returned to school as usual on Tuesday, Sept. 17th.

Names of officers involved in deadly Burlington shooting released

WQAD News -

BURLINGTON, Iowa -- The names of the officers involved in a deadly shooting in Burlington have been released, nearly one week after the incident.

The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) started looking into the officer-involved shooting after 20-year-old Caleb Daniel Peterson was shot and killed on September 11, according to a previous report.  The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Peterson exchanged gunfire with police after getting out of a truck and fleeing on foot.

Related: One dead after exchange of gunfire with law enforcement in Burlington

The officers involved have been identified as two Burlington Police officers, Tyler Henning and Nathan Crooks, and one Des Moines County Sergeant, Kevin Glendening, according to the Iowa DCI.  The agency said all three officers "discharged their weapons in the direction of Peterson."

Investigators said Peterson had one gunshot wound to the mid-torso.  The Iowa DCI said that wound led to his death.

Iowa DCI said all the officers were cooperating.  All three were placed on administrative leave, per department policy.

The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Attorney General's office.

Read More:  Bullet hits inches from sleeping child’s bed during deadly officer-involved shooting in Burlington

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