The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks on Monday, with several members voicing complaints about a White House lawyer refusing to let her speak on even the simplest of questions.
Democratic lawmakers on the committee had called Hicks to testify in order to learn more about her involvement with the White House, and to hear from her directly about portions of the Mueller report that included statements from her. Yet White House counsel prevented her from answering certain questions, citing “absolute immunity” from doing so.
“I’m watching obstruction of justice in action,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) told reporters, per reporting from AlterNet. “You have the White House asserting absolute immunity, which is not a thing. It doesn’t exist.”
Simple questions were blocked, too, Lieu explained. “Even something as simple as, ‘Where is your office located?’ Objection,” he said.
Lieu promised the Democratic lawmakers would take the matter to court, and then, “we’re just going to make Hope Hicks come back again and actually answer the questions,” he said.
This claim of “immunity” is laughable. No such immunity exists. Not even close. https://t.co/BHXvgwWGXd
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) June 19, 2019
Hicks was consciously allowing the White House counsel to let her avoid answering questions, some lawmakers asserted.
“She is making a choice to follow along with all the claims of absolute immunity,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) said, according to reporting from Politico. “Basically, she can say her name.”
“It’s a farce,” Jayapal added.
Hicks also avoided questions on matters relating to what she said to Robert Mueller. “She couldn’t even characterize her testimony to the special counsel,” Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida) said.
Earlier on Wednesday, during Hicks’s testimony, President Donald Trump expressed anger over Hicks having to testify at all.
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. They were unhappy with result so they want a Do Over. Very unfair & costly to her. Will it ever end? Why aren’t they…….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2019
“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 in a tweet.
Trump’s statement here is misleading, to say the least.
Per previous reporting from HillReporter.com, analysis of the Mueller report demonstrated it did not actually exonerate Trump. In fact, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano stated that Mueller’s final report, and his statements given in May, suggested the former special counsel would have pursued an indictment against Trump, were he not the president.
Indeed, Mueller said late last month, “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” implying that there was evidence of malfeasance on the part of the president.