Top Democrat complains about Hope Hicks’ evasiveness during Russia interview
Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said today that Hope Hicks, the outgoing White House communications director, wouldn’t answer “whole areas” of questions during her lengthy interview with the committee.
Hicks’ nine-hour interview happened on Tuesday, the day before she announced that she was resigning from her post at the White House.
Schiff, who appeared on “The View” this morning, said, “I don’t know what was involved in the timing” of her announcement of her resignation.
When asked about the reporting from The New York Times in which she said she occasionally told “white lies” on behalf of Trump, Schiff said he wished that information from the interview had “never left the committee.”
Schiff did not clarify as to what she said in the interview about what the “white lies” included, but said when an interview subject admits to lying on behalf of “the boss,” then “it reflects whether they’ll be truthful inside the committee.”
“The most significant issue I have with her testimony are the whole areas she refused to testify on at the instruction of the White House,” Schiff said, adding “that’s not her fault.”
“You can’t say we’re simply not going to answer questions about anything that happened during the transition, about anything that happened during the administration, whether it involved the president or it didn’t,” Schiff said.
Schiff said that in the case of Bannon, whom he described as “a man without a country” after having left the White House and Breitbart News at the time of his interview, he was ordered to testify by subpoena.
“This is the issue: will the Congress assert itself, will the Congress insist on answers? When Steve Bannon refused to answer questions along the same lines, the Republicans said ‘Well, we need to demand answers, that’s an outrage!’ and they subpoenaed him on the spot,” he said.
Schiff noted that it was “not so with Corey Lewandowski, not so with Hope Hicks, not so with any number of witnesses who have similarly refused to answer questions. They need to be subpoenaed, they need to be compelled.”
“We have, obviously, very important questions to ask Hope Hicks about the preparation of that false statement about the meeting in Trump Tower with the Russians,” he said.
Turning to the threat of Russian intervention in the midterm elections and other elections moving forward, Schiff said that “not nearly enough” is being done.
“The states are certainly taking action — they’re hardening their elections infrastructure… What we need is a whole of government response,” Schiff said.
“There are still bipartisan sanctions sitting on the president’s desk that he needs to implement,” he said.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was a guest on “The View” this morning, said: “If the Russians did it to us the first time, shame on them. If they do it to us again, shame on us.”
When Schiff was asked for specific examples that he and the House Committee have found of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign team and Russia during the 2016 election, he pointed to the revelations about former campaign advisor George Papadopoulos and the public disclosures about the Trump Tower meeting that Donald Trump Jr. and other leading campaign officials had with a Russian lawyer and associates.
“Bob Mueller will make the decision whether there’s proof beyond reasonable doubt to indict and convict people,” Schiff said, referring to the special counsel handling the Russia investigation. “It is not his responsibility to tell the country what happened.
“And indeed, no guarantee that the country will ever learn what Bob Mueller finds apart from an indictment,” he added. “It’s the job of the Congress to tell the American people what happened.”
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