Hope Hicks defends accuracy of her congressional testimony

Hope Hicks defends accuracy of her congressional testimony
© Aaron Schwartz

Former White House communications director Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksJustice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Former White House official won't testify, lawyer says Trump: 'Top shows' on Fox News, cable are 'Fair (or great)' to me MORE is standing by her June testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, rejecting Democrats’ suggestions that she lied about her knowledge of hush money payments made to women before the 2016 election who alleged affairs with President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE.

“She had no knowledge of, and was not involved in any conversation about, ‘hush money’ payments to Stormy Daniels during the campaign,” Hicks’s attorneys Robert Trout and Gloria Solomon wrote in a lengthy letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJudiciary panel releases report defining impeachable offenses READ: White House letter refusing to participate in impeachment hearings White House tells Democrats it won't cooperate in impeachment hearings MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday.

“The information she provided to the Committee was truthful to the best of her knowledge and recollection,” they wrote.

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Nadler had demanded Hicks clarify her closed-door testimony after a batch of court filings in the case involving former Trump attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenKaren McDougal sues Fox News over alleged slander Justice Dept releases another round of summaries from Mueller probe Five things to watch for at Trump's NATO meetings MORE released in July led some to cast doubt on the validity of her statements.

At the time, Nadler said there appeared to be “inconsistencies” between Hicks’s testimony and details from the filings unsealed by a federal judge in New York.

"As I reminded you at the outset of your interview, anything other than complete candor can have very serious consequences,” Nadler wrote, setting a deadline of Thursday for her to respond.

According to the filings, Hicks participated in a phone call with Trump and Cohen, his former longtime lawyer, at a time when Cohen was trying to prevent the details about an alleged affair with adult-film star Stormy Daniels from becoming public knowledge. The affidavit suggested investigators believed the call may have been about efforts to prevent Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, from coming forward.

Hicks told the committee in June that she was never "present" when Trump discussed Daniels with Cohen and that she had no direct knowledge of payments made to Daniels, according to a transcript of the interview that was subsequently release.

Hicks’s attorneys vehemently rejected suggestions she may have misled lawmakers during her testimony, insisting she “was not part of any conversations about the hush money payments to Ms. Daniels before they were reported.”

Her attorneys took apart each point in Nadler’s letter, and argued that the unsealed affidavit “does not demonstrate that Ms. Hicks had any knowledge of any arrangement during the campaign period of any arrangement with or payments to Ms. Daniels.”

They argued that the affidavit contains “only an incomplete and misleading picture of Ms. Hicks activities” because it does not describe Hicks’s conversations or calls with individuals on the same date which could also have been a trigger for the call to Cohen.

The lawyers also write that the affidavit provides no information as to the content of the Oct. 28, 2016, call between Hicks and Cohen and asserts that she “does not remember the reason for that call.”

A Judiciary Committee spokeswoman said in a statement that the panel “will evaluate the claims made by Ms. Hicks’ counsel in response to our questions and determine next steps. This matter is a very serious one because it relates to the President’s involvement in campaign finance crimes.”

Cohen is now serving a jail sentence for campaign finance violations and stemming from payments made to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 contest, both of whom alleged affairs with Trump. While Cohen has implicated Trump in the scheme, Trump has denied the affairs and denied any wrongdoing.

The Judiciary panel interviewed Hicks as part of its investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice by Trump laid out in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s report. She testified before the committee on June 19. She answered some questions about her work on the campaign but was blocked by the White House from answering inquiries about her time working in the West Wing.