Hope Hicks Told Congress Trump Is Serious About Accepting Dirt From Foreigners

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty

Former Trump campaign press secretary and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks testified for eight hours at a closed-door House Judiciary Committee session Wednesday as part of the House investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. We now know what she said, and though Hicks mostly avoided answering questions, she did make a few interesting comments.

According to Reuters, Hicks told the House committee that Trump was “not joking” when he told ABC News last week that he’d consider accepting foreign intelligence on an election opponent.

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“I don’t think that was a joke, based on what I saw,” Hicks said.

“Ms. Hicks made clear that she understood the president to be serious when he said that he would accept foreign interference in our elections,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, who chairs the committee, said in a statement.

“She also made clear that even she knew that such foreign assistance should be rejected and reported to the FBI,” he added.

Earlier in the day, an expert witness told the committee that Trump’s statement to ABC could have violated his oath of office, Reuters said.

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“Receiving foreign assistance has been recognized throughout the entire history of the country as something that is counter to and undermines the Constitution,” Carrie Cordero, an attorney who is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security told the House. “That is an invitation... to Russian intelligence and any other intelligence service that’s out there that wants to try to find a way to influence our democratic processes.”

Hicks refused to answer hundreds of questions about her time at the White House. White House lawyers said that Hicks had immunity from testifying about that time.

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“Ms. Hicks could not even answer whether she told the truth to the Mueller team because the president’s lawyers objected to the question,” Rep. Ted Deutch said at the hearing.

Shortly after the hearing, Nadler released the transcript, as promised.

In the hearing, Hicks also defended Trump’s use of Wikileaks material including emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, saying it was “taking publicly available information to draw a contrast between the candidates,” according to Reuters.

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She said she didn’t believe that the material in those emails was “hacked.”

“Did those emails describe hacked information?” Hicks said in the testimony. “I don’t believe they described hacked information.”

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Hicks denied that Trump’s team was “happy” about the leaks.

I don’t think that’s a fair characterization. I think ‘relief that we weren’t the only campaign with issues’ is more accurate,” she said.

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