Former White House aide Hope Hicks acknowledged that she considered President Donald Trump’s response on accepting foreign assistance in U.S. elections to be both “serious” and “troubling,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in written remarks Thursday.
Hicks was brought before the committee on Wednesday to answer questions behind closed doors about her time campaigning for Trump and working in his administration.
Although Nadler did not quote Hicks directly in the written remarks, he summed up her take on a recent ABC News interview in which Trump said he would welcome derogatory information on political opponents that came from a foreign entity and claimed “it’s not an interference.” The president prompted bipartisan concern when he also refused to say that such information should be reported to the FBI.
“His invitation to foreign actors is so alarming that even one of his most loyal former aides, Hope Hicks, knew that the president’s statement was troubling,” read Nadler’s written remarks, although the chairman did not read that particular line during Thursday’s committee hearing.
Nadler’s written remarks noted that Hicks “understood the president to be serious” in his comments, and that she “made clear that even she knew that such foreign assistance should be rejected and reported to the FBI.”
When delivering his remarks, Nadler instead said, “We heard some relevant testimony about this in the Hicks interview yesterday, and we will be releasing that transcript soon.”
In response to the president’s comments, the head of the Federal Election Commission felt compelled to state unequivocally that it is illegal to solicit or receive foreign assistance in U.S. elections.
Hicks served as campaign press secretary and later as White House communications director until her departure in March 2018. She now works for the Fox Corp., parent company of Fox News, as chief communications officer and executive president.
Her testimony frustrated Democrats due to her lawyers’ frequent objections and her refusal to answer questions about whether Trump broke the law at any point. Although Hicks remains a Trump supporter, she does not speak to him as much as she once did, Reuters reported.