Hope Hicks might be stepping down as the White House Communications Director, but her experience within the White House will undoubtedly see her spending more time in D.C., specifically on Capitol Hill. According to Politico, the longtime Trump aide was present for many open conversations about key events regarding the ongoing Mueller investigation, a blatant dismissal of advice by the president, during her tenure at Trump’s side.
Trump’s propensity to ignore the conversational “bright line” and trounce on boundaries regarding the ongoing Russia probe with his aides, including Hicks, sometimes without warning, puts them in significant legal jeopardy, according to current and former Trump aides. None of Trump’s confidants have been exposed to more potentially incriminating conversations than Hicks. “I think the president has put her in a very precarious position,” said a senior White House official. The president himself told her she could be “on both sides of the [bright] line.”
Hicks has already met with Mueller, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, during which she testified to telling “white lies” to cover for Trump. She announced her resignation one day after that revelation.
The short list of events key to the Mueller investigation to which the president exposed Hicks reads like a greatest hits of Trump’s obstruction of justice playlist. She was present when Trump, his family and aides drew up a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s now-infamous meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. She was in the room when Trump publicly revealed his anger toward Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, the decision that led to Mueller’s involvement. She was also present when Trump announced the addition of George Papadopoulos and Carter Page to his foreign policy team, and was attached to email chains that showed Page disclosing an invitation to speak in Moscow to the Trump campaign chain of command. She fielded media inquiries about then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to Putin ally Oleg Deripaska. She was even present when Trump decided to fire FBI director James Comey and the day before during an Oval Office meeting where a letter written by fellow Trump aide Stephen Miller outlined the reasons for Comey’s firing.
No wonder anyone attempting to get to the bottom of all of this wants to talk to her.
The problem doesn’t lie with Hicks, however. It lies with the president and the attitude with which he operates the White House. A former Trump aide said that the White House under Trump “runs on personal access and loyalty,” and that approach to the day-to-day operations of the country’s executive branch breeds an atmosphere where incrimination is easy to come by. “That is problematic, because not only does it distract from the work that taxpayers are paying them to do, but it also—in certain instances—can make them witnesses or potentially targets of the investigation. That’s really dangerous,” said the former Trump aide.
Hicks will likely be called to give more testimony before the Russia probe is wrapped up, but at least she won’t be privy to more firsthand accounts that could further run up her legal bills.