White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is scheduled to appear Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
But it’s not yet clear how forthcoming Hicks will be if she appears for the closed-door interview.
When former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was interviewed by the committee earlier this month, he said he had been instructed by the White House to invoke executive privilege on behalf of President Donald Trump, and he would not answer questions beyond the time frame of the 2016 campaign.
Hicks was initially scheduled to appear before the committee last month, but her testimony was delayed over questions about whether she could discuss the presidential transition and her time at the White House.
The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said Monday that he did not know whether Hicks will answer all of the committee’s questions.
“We don’t know at this point if she will testify completely or fully as others who have served in the administration have, or whether she will do what Steve Bannon did, which was stonewall,” Schiff said. “We hope obviously she will be cooperative, but at this point I don’t know what we can expect.”
Schiff has called on the House panel to issue contempt citations to Bannon and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who also limited the scope of questions he would answer, although the Republican leading the committee’s Russia investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, has not said yet if that step would be pursued.
Hicks has already been interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. Hicks also met last year with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation.
Hicks, a trusted Trump aide for years, was one of then-candidate Trump’s first hires as he put together an improbable run for the White House. During the campaign, she was often by Trump’s side and attended nearly every rally, while she was in frequent communication with other senior officials as they coordinated their tactics to win the White House.
The House panel plans to interview her about any knowledge she has of contacts that occurred between other Trump associates and Russians. And she is bound to be questioned about other controversies as well, namely the White House’s involvement in crafting a misleading response last summer once a June 2016 meeting between Russians and Donald Trump Jr. was revealed in the press.
Hicks appears to have firsthand knowledge of a number of key events that have shaped the first year of the Trump White House, including being on Air Force One when the initial misleading statement about Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians was crafted.