Donald Trump treats his White House Communications Director Hope Hicks like a daughter (he affectionately calls her “Hopey”). There is no one Trump trusts more. Hicks is his longest-serving aid whom he brought with him from his company. Pundits commenting on Hicks’ loyalty to Trump joked that she would be there to “turn the lights out when the Trump administration ends.”
Earlier this week, “White House communications director Hope Hicks refused to answer questions about the Trump administration that House investigators posed Tuesday as part of their probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.” In Russia probe, Hope Hicks refuses to answer questions about Trump administration:
But under pressure from lawmakers, she began to offer some details about the transition period Tuesday afternoon, according to House Intelligence Committee members of both parties, who said Hicks and her attorneys agreed to address topics broached with the Senate Intelligence Committee in an earlier private interview.
Democrats and Republicans emerging from the House Intelligence Committee’s interview with Hicks on Tuesday noted that, at first, she categorically resisted answering any questions about events and conversations that had occurred since President Trump won the election, even though Trump has not formally invoked executive privilege with the panel.
“No one’s asserting privilege; they’re following the orders of the White House not to answer certain questions,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), a committee member, after the interview had been going for about four hours.
“There’s no hope to get all our answers,” he added, noting the pun and adding: “Tip your servers.”
Democrats on the panel tried to insist during the interview that Hicks be served with a subpoena, as was done with former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon last month when he refused to answer similar questions.
“There’s apparently one rule for Steve Bannon and another rule for everyone else,” the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), complained after the interview.
Both Democrats and Republicans said that Hicks changed her approach later in the interview, after her attorneys spoke by phone with the White House to clarify which questions pertaining to the period between Election Day and Trump’s inauguration she would answer. Hicks began speaking to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning, and her interview continued for nine hours.
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In the end, members of both parties said, Hicks answered all of their questions from the campaign period and “most” of their questions about the transition. But she answered none of their questions pertaining to the period since Trump took office, which meant that lawmakers were unable to secure her testimony regarding a key event in which she played a role: the drafting of a misleading statement to explain an unorthodox meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan between top Trump campaign members and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 race.
“All of our questions about what went into that statement went unanswered,” Schiff said. “As a result, we should follow through with the subpoena.”
The New York Times adds, Hope Hicks Acknowledges She Sometimes Tells White Lies for Trump:
Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, told House investigators on Tuesday that her work for President Trump, who has a reputation for exaggerations and outright falsehoods, had occasionally required her to tell white lies.
But after extended consultation with her lawyers, she insisted that she had not lied about matters material to the investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible links to Trump associates, according to three people familiar with her testimony.
She also pointedly and repeatedly declined to answer questions about the presidential transition or her time in the White House, lawmakers who sat in on the testimony said, telling investigators that she had been asked by the White House to discuss only her time on the campaign. They added that she did not formally invoke executive privilege.
Investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller interviewed Ms. Hicks over two days in December. She previously testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
That “white lies” comment “Hopey” made to investigators before the House Intelligence Committee apparently pissed off “Daddy.” Trump ‘berated’ Hicks after House Intel testimony:
President Trump reportedly berated former White House communications director Hope Hicks the day before her resignation, according to a new report.
CNN’s Erin Burnett reported Wednesday that Trump was angry with Hicks following her closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, in which she reportedly revealed she was sometimes required to tell “white lies” as part of her work in the White House.
Burnett reported one of Trump’s “close allies” told CNN that Trump asked Hicks after her testimony “how she could be so stupid.”
“Apparently, that was the final straw for Hope Hicks,” Burnett said.
The New York Times reports, Hope Hicks to Leave Post as White House Communications Director:
Hope Hicks, President Trump’s communications director and one of his longest-serving advisers, said Wednesday that she planned to leave the White House in the next few weeks.
Ms. Hicks, 29, a former model who joined Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign without any experience in politics, became known as one of the few aides who understood Mr. Trump’s personality and style and could challenge the president to change his views.
Her title belied the extent of her power within the West Wing — after John F. Kelly was appointed White House chief of staff, she had more access to the Oval Office than almost any other staff member. Her own office, which she inherited after the departure of another Trump confidant, Keith Schiller, was just next door.
Most significantly, Mr. Trump felt a more personal comfort with Ms. Hicks than he has established with almost any of his other, newer advisers since coming to Washington. And for a politician who relies so heavily on what is familiar to him, her absence could be jarring.
Ms. Hicks said that she had “no words” to express her gratitude to the president, who responded with his own statement.
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years,” Mr. Trump said. “She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side, but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future.”Her resignation came a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee, telling the panel that in her job, she had occasionally been required to tell white lies but had never lied about anything connected to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
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Multiple White House aides said Ms. Hicks’s decision to leave was unrelated to her appearance before the House committee. They said she had told a small group of people in the days before the session that she had planned to resign, partly because she never liked Washington and chose not to try to pretend to.
Ms. Hicks’s departure will coincide with those of other people who have been close to the Trump family members in the White House. Reed Cordish, a policy adviser and friend of Jared Kushner and Ms. Trump, is leaving his role; Josh Raffel, a press aide whose initial portfolio was primarily focused on Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, is also leaving; and Dina Powell, who had been a deputy national security adviser who was close to Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, left weeks ago.
Aaron Blake of the Washington Post comments, Why did Hope Hicks resign? Even the good option looks bad.
It is tempting to draw a line — as I and others speculated about — between Hicks’s exit and two controversies: Her involvement in the Rob Porter scandal as both communications director and his girlfriend, and her House Intelligence Committee testimony Tuesday in which she admitted to telling white lies for Trump. If nothing else, the timing is suspicious for a resignation to come so close in proximity to each of those two things.
But consider the alternative. The alternative is that someone who has been in the White House for 13 months started thinking about leaving well shy of a year on the staff — and shortly after rising to one of the top jobs. The point: Regardless of which one it was, it doesn’t portend good things or stability in the White House moving forward.
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We may yet learn more about Hicks’s departure in the days to come. Nothing about it, though, suggests stability is over the horizon for the White House. If anything was stability for Trump, it was Hicks.
Hope Hicks has her own problems with the Special Counsel for her role as a participant in obstruction of justice. Mark Corallo will tell special counsel about alleged Hope Hicks vow that emails ‘will never get out‘:
Former Trump team legal spokesperson Mark Corallo had concerns that White House communications director Hope Hicks could be considering obstructing justice after a comment she reportedly made about emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians, according to a New York Times story.
Hicks allegedly told President Donald Trump on a conference call that the Trump Jr. emails “will never get out,” and Corallo plans to share the conversation with special counsel Robert Mueller, the Times reported Wednesday night, citing three people with knowledge of his interview request.
“The Times reported that sources said Corallo was concerned by what she said, and thought she was either being naive or implying that the emails could be withheld from the special counsel’s team.” Corallo resigned over his concerns. He has since been interviewed by the Special Counsel’s office.
Hicks also was present for events surrounding the firing of FBI Director James Comey.