The outgoing White House communications director Hope Hicks was said to have been evasive during her long interview with the House Intelligence Committee, the same interview during which she said she occasionally told “white lies” on behalf of President Donald Trump.
The ranking Democrat on the panel, Representative Adam Schiff, said Ms Hicks wouldn’t answer “whole areas” of questions while being interviewed.
Ms Hicks’ marathon nine-hour interview occurred on Tuesday, a day before it was announced that the 29-year-old was resigning from her post at the White House.
The resignation shocked many given that Ms Hicks had been Mr Trump’s longest-serving aide and seemed to be untouchable.
She worked with him before he announced he was running for President, through the campaign and into the second year of his administration. The White House said she approached the President and told him she wanted to leave so she could start exploring other opportunities.
But that may not be the full story. Mr Trump reportedly berated Ms Hicks after she admitted to telling “white lies” as part of her job. The committee that was conducting the interview is one of multiple congressional panels looking into whether Trump campaign advisers colluded with the Russian government. Mr Trump has denied there was any collusion.
The President is said to have asked Ms Hicks “how she could be so stupid”, CNN reported. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley later called this allegation “false”.
In an appearance on ABC’s The View, Mr Schiff said he did not know what was involved in the timing of her announcement of her resignation.
Mr Schiff did not elaborate on what Ms Hicks said in the interview about what the “white lies” were. However, he said that when an interview subject admits to lying on behalf of “the boss”, then “it reflects whether they’ll be truthful inside the committee”.
“The most significant issue I have with her testimony are the whole areas she refused to testify on at the instruction of the White House,” Schiff said, adding “that’s not her fault”.
“You can’t say we’re simply not going to answer questions about anything that happened during the transition, about anything that happened during the administration, whether it involved the President or it didn’t,” Mr Schiff said.
Based on interviews with a Democrat and a Republican on the panel, the Washington Post reported that Ms Hicks refused to answer questions about whether she had been asked to lie by White House aides and Mr Trump’s family members, including Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., former White House adviser Steve Bannon, and former campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort.
The 29-year-old joins an ever-growing list of people who have either resigned or been fired since during the Trump administration.
His first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, stepped down last summer, and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon was fired. Former press secretary Sean Spicer also resigned.
Ms Hicks acted as President Trump’s gatekeeper to the press, sitting in on interviews with reporters and quietly steering his public relations policies from behind the scenes.
She is expected to leave the White House at some point over the next few weeks.
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