Watergate prosecutor: Hope Hicks could be liable over Trump Jr.-Russia statement
Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said Friday that outgoing White House communications director Hope Hicks could face liability if she was involved in covering up Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians.
Wine-Banks told People that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the election, will pay close attention to Hick’s involvement in crafting a statement responding to the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.
Hicks reportedly helped draft Trump Jr.’s initial misleading statement about his meeting with a Russian lawyer. The president’s eldest son said the meeting centered around Russian adoptions, while it later became known that he attended the meeting after being promised dirt about Hillary Clinton‘s campaign.
“If [President Trump] is asking her, ‘How do I cover up the fact that my son had this illegal meeting?’ and she says it is about a different subject, he discussed adoptions, that is criminal conduct,” Wine-Banks said Friday. “And her liability for that criminal conduct, for being part of a cover-up, exists in or out of the White House, as does the president’s.”
Hicks testified for hours on Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee about her work for the Trump campaign. She garnered attention for saying during the testimony that she has occasionally told “white lies.”
The next day, she announced her resignation, though the White House said that it was coming before her testimony before the committee on Tuesday.
Hicks declined to answer several questions during her testimony, something Wine-Banks told People was inappropriate.
“There is no executive privilege for criminal conduct,” Wine-Banks said. “For example, with Hope Hicks being involved with drafting a false report about the June meeting, that is not protected by privilege and anything the president told her in connection with that drafting to extent he he dictated to that, she will have to testify about that.”
Wine-Banks served on the staff of special prosecutor Leon Jaworski during the Watergate investigation.