Hope Hicks to meet with House Intel panel
White House communications director Hope Hicks is reportedly scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s election interference.
Her initial scheduled testimony was abruptly delayed last month as questions swirled as to whether she would respond to the panel’s questions.
CBS News first reported her expected appearance.
The top Democrat on the committee said it remains unclear whether Hicks will attempt to “stonewall” the committee by seeking to limit the scope of her testimony, like former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon did earlier this month.
“We hope obviously that she will be fully cooperative, but at this point I don’t know what we can expect, except that we expect her to come in soon and we hope that she will fully cooperate,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Monday, declining to confirm the exact date of her pending interview.
Bannon initially refused to answer questions about the presidential transition period in January by asserting executive privilege, a move that prompted the panel to issue a subpoena on the spot to compel him to return and answer their questions extending beyond Election Day.
When Bannon again appeared before the committee earlier this month, however, he refused to answer anything beyond a set of 25 questions preapproved by the White House.
Bannon’s refusal ignited a wave of fury among both Republicans and Democrats on the panel who said he had no grounds to assert the privilege on conversations or events that took place before President Trump took office.
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the top Republican leading the Russia probe, said at the time that he was talking with lawyers, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other lawmakers to see if they can compel Bannon to comply after his second appearance turned out to be a bust.
Schiff said other administration officials have been “fully cooperative” in answering questions about the Trump transition period. He indicated the attempt by the White House to limit Bannon’s testimony is an outlier to previous interviews with administration officials, but he expressed concern that Bannon’s example could trigger similar conduct in the future.
“In the case of Bannon, it was an insupportable and over-broad claim and he needs to be held in contempt and he is still pushing the majority to do what I think they are committed to doing,” Schiff added.
The White House and Hicks’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment about her expected appearance.
Hicks played a key role during the campaign and transition periods, including the highly scrutinized Trump Tower meeting in June of last year.
She reportedly helped draft Donald 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.
Hicks has also met with special counsel Robert Mueller as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of their separately-led Russia probes, CBS reported.
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