White House communications director Hope Hicks to resign
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hope Hicks, President Donald Trump’s longest-serving aide and current communications director will resign her post in the coming weeks, the White House said Wednesday.
The New York Times first reported that Hicks would resign and sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed she would be leaving to ABC News.
After the news broke, President Trump said he “will miss having her by my side.”
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person,” the president said in a statement provided to the media by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
“I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future,” Trump said.
In her own statement, also provided by the White House, Hicks said: “There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump. I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”
Speaking to reporters, Sanders said Hicks was not resigning because of her testimony Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee during which she said she had occasionally told white lies on President Trump’s behalf, according to a source familiar with the interview.
“This is something she’s been thinking about for a while,” Sanders said, adding that Hicks was going to spend some time with her family.
“Quit trying to make it into a scandal. Don’t try to read more into it than there is,” Sanders told reporters.
Hicks’s comments during the nine-hour House committee interview were first reported by the New York Times.
“When specifically asked whether or not she was instructed to lie by the president, or the candidate, with regard to Russia, the investigation or our investigation, the answer to that question was no,” Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., told the Associated Press. “And that’s our jurisdiction. Not whether or not he asked her to cancel a meeting for him, or something like that.”
Hicks was questioned extensively about the controversial Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer in June of 2016, telling congressional investigators that she was not aware of the meeting contemporaneously, and first learned of it in July of 2017, when the New York Times first reported on it, according to three sources with knowledge of her interview.
She refused to answer questions about her role in crafting a misleading response to the initial New York Times report in July of 2017, telling the panel she had been instructed by the White House not to answer questions pertaining to the transition or White House. She later answered some questions about the transition, given that she had done so in an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, told reporters.
Hicks was also critical of Paul Manafort in the interview, suggesting to congressional investigators that he wouldn’t have been campaign chairman if he was properly vetted, according to a source familiar with her testimony.
Manafort pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges including bank fraud and tax evasion brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
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