Hope Hicks doesn’t say much in closed door meeting with House committee

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WASHINGTON – Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks disappointed reporters and Democrats alike – as she left Capitol Hill in silence Wednesday night after refusing to answer a number of questions behind closed doors.

Hicks did answer some questions about her role working in President Trump’s 2016 campaign during the private meeting with the House Judiciary Committee.

But White House lawmakers, claiming “absolute immunity” advised Hicks not to answer questions about her work in the oval office,.

“Hope Hicks answered some questions. She gave us a lot of good information. The White House asserted so-called absolute immunity, which is ridiculous and which we’ll destroy in court,” said House Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

Others suggested there was no smoking gun.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) as she left the committee room.

“Hope Hicks is a building block in determining what our next steps are and whether or not this administration engaged in misconduct and that’s what we secured today,” the congresswoman added.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) scoffed at the White House lawyers’ interference.

“Anything related to her tenure in the White House – absolutely,” he said was made off-limits, “Liu said.

“Even something as simple as ‘where is your office located?’ ‘Objection.’ It is ridiculous,” he said, adding that the office question was something actually asked.

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) said lawmakers made some progress in getting questions answered about Hicks’ time working on the Trump campaign. For instance, Dean said she asked Hicks about a November 8, 2016 statement she made saying the Trump campaign had no contacts with Russians.

“When pressed she said we did get emails, possibly requests for interviews,” Dean recalled. “I said, ‘Well that is a contact.’ And she said, ‘Well, no, in my opinion that is not a contact.’”

“And she kept saying no even though she said that she knew that there was some contact,” Dean went on. “She would not admit that was a false statement.”

Democrats got some questions answered about the president’s alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, Rep. David Cicilline (D-N.J.) told Politico.

Democrats are trying to test the White House’s claim of blanket immunity – not executive privilege – that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone informed committee members of Tuesday.

House Democrats are following up on the findings in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe. Mueller concluded that Trump did not conspire with Russians during the 2016 campaign but did not clear the president of obstructing justice, concluding that under current law a sitting president cannot be indicted and said Congress must decide whether to pursue further action.

As Hicks’ day on Capitol Hill was nearing an end, the president openly bemoaned that she was there.

“So sad that the Democrats are putting wonderful Hope Hicks through hell, for 3 years now, after total exoneration by Robert Mueller & the Mueller Report,” Trump wrote.

“They were unhappy with the result so they want a Do Over. Very unfair & costly to her. Will it ever end? Why aren’t they [asking] Hillary Clinton why she deleted and acid washed her Emails AFTER getting a subpoena from Congress?”

The committee’s top Republican also expressed his disappointment, suggesting the day’s exercise was a waste of time. “We took eight hours to find out, really, what most of us knew at the beginning,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Judiciary’s ranking member.

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