Today, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released an initial transcript of the Committee’s June 19th interview with former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.
The full transcript is available here. Key takeaways from the Hope Hicks interview include the following:
Lawyers for the Trump Administration blocked Ms. Hicks from answering questions 155 times.
The White House refused to allow Ms. Hicks to answer any questions related to her time working for President Trump. She was blocked from responding to questions about the presidential misconduct detailed in the Mueller Report, including:
President Trump’s directive to Corey Lewandowski to deliver a message directing Attorney General Sessions to “unrecuse” from the Russia investigation and limit the Special Counsel investigation (p28-30), a request that Ms. Hicks admitted she found “odd” (p34). According to the Mueller Report, Ms. Hicks was directly involved in the incident when Mr. Lewandowski asked her to type up the President’s obstructive words.
President Trump’s effort to have White House Counsel Don McGahn remove the Special Counsel (p116).
The resignation of former National Security Advisory Michael Flynn (p201).
The recusal of Attorney General Sessions from the Russia investigation (p203).
The President’s firing of FBI Director James Comey (p203).
The President’s creation of a false statement in response to press coverage of the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting (p205-206).
On one occasion, the Administration did permit Ms. Hicks to answer a single question about the weather on her first day of work for President Trump (p85). But the President’s lawyers refused to allow to answer basic questions, like where her desk was located in the White House (p15).
Ms. Hicks confirmed that the Trump Campaign welcomed the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election. She would not, however, do it again—parting ways with President Trump.
Ms. Hicks was unapologetic about the Trump Campaign’s use of hacked materials released by Wikileaks, defending the campaign as using “publicly available information” (p74).
Ms. Hicks acknowledged that the Trump Campaign felt “relief” at the release of hacked information damaging to the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. (p104).
Ms. Hicks confirmed that Jared Kushner forwarded to the Secret Service a blackmail threat against President Trump purportedly made by Guccifer 2.0 (p90), but that the campaign made no effort to contact the Secret Service about an email from Wikileaks to Don Trump Jr (p91-92).
Ms. Hicks said that she was “very surprised” to learn that there were over 100 contacts between the Trump Campaign and individuals associated with the Russian government (p216).
Ms. Hicks stated that she agreed with the assessment of the intelligence community that the Russians had attacked the 2016 election by aiding the candidacy of President Trump and hurting that of Hillary Clinton (p54-55).
Ms. Hicks stated that she had learned from the 2016 presidential election, and that she would not today accept “foreign oppo information from a foreign government” (p165). She stated that she would report such an offer to the FBI if she found it to be credible (p165).
The White House's legally dubious claims of “absolute immunity” are a sham.
President Trump’s lawyers entered more than 150 objections on the basis of “absolute immunity” for senior White House officials. These interruptions are a gimmick designed to interfere with the Committee’s investigation.
Ms. Hicks was accompanied by two private attorneys, three lawyers from the White House, and one lawyer from the Department of Justice. This traveling law firm could have easily resolved any real concerns about executive privilege on a question-by-question basis. Instead, they prevented Ms. Hicks from answering even routine questions about her time at the White House.
The White House knows that it cannot invoke executive privilege—or any privilege—as to the information that was publicly released in the Mueller Report, which is why they are making this absurd claim.
The President’s lawyers made these bogus immunity claims in order to stall for their boss, to block witness testimony, and to avoid invoking executive privilege where the privilege clearly no longer exists, if it ever did.
A full copy of the Hope Hicks interview transcript can be found here.