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Tag: White House

Hope Hicks Refuses to Answer Questions in Congressional Probe of Russian Interference

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.

By Steve Neavling

White House communications director Hope Hicks became the latest former or current Trump aide to refuse to answer questions about the Trump administration as part of a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Saying she was acting on instructions from the White House, Trump’s longtime political aide declined many questions in a closed-door sessions of the House Intelligence Committee.

But under pressure, Hicks answered some questions about the tradition period, committee members told the Washington Post.

Hicks, the White House communications director who served as the spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, is considered a key witness because of her longstanding relationship with the president and his family.

“No one’s asserting privilege; they’re following the orders of the White House not to answer certain questions,” Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill, said after the interview.

“There’s no hope to get all our answers,” he added.

Democrats failed to get the GOP-led committee to serve Hick with a subpoena like was done with former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, who also refused to answer questions.

“There’s apparently one rule for Steve Bannon and another rule for everyone else,” the panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), complained after the interview.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Aide Hope Hicks to Meet with House Committee Investigating Russia’s Interference

President Trump at the White House, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump’s longtime political aide Hope Hicks is scheduled to testify behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee that is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Hicks, the White House communications director who served as the spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, is considered a key witness because of her longstanding relationship with the president and his family.

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.

It’s not yet clear when she will appear before the committee or what questions she will answer. Her scheduled appearance was first reported by CBS News

The Democrats’ top committee member said he’s hoping Hicks won’t “stonewall” the committee like other current and former White House workers who refused to answer questions.

“We hope obviously that she will be fully cooperative, but at this point I don’t know what we can expect, except that we expect her to come in soon and we hope that she will fully cooperate,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday.

Top Trump Advisers Mull Departure over Lingering Feud with President

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

Two top advisers to Donald Trump may soon resign from the White House amid longstanding tensions with the president. 

National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly have grown increasingly frustrated with Trump and are considering leaving the administration, four senior administration officials told Reuters

But if the past is any indication, the administration officials said the tensions could blow over. 

The most recent sign of conflict arose over the weekend, when Trump criticized the three-star general for saying the special counsel investigation shows “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

McCaster is considering returning to the Pentagon, officials said. 

A rift between Trump and Kelly grew over the chief of staff’s handling of the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who was accused by two-ex wives of domestic violence. 

Turnover has plagued Trump’s administration since he became president in January 2017. 

Trump’s Legal Team Builds Argument Against Sit-Down Interview with Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Donald Trump’s legal team is building an argument to prevent the president from a sit-down interview with special counsel Robert Mueller. 

Mueller has requested an interview with Trump as part of the investigation into whether the president obstructed justice.

Although Trump boasted two weeks ago that he has nothing to hide and will answer questions under oath, his lawyers are urging to him to avoid the interview because they fear he will lie and be charged with perjury.

Trump’s legal team plans to present three arguments against an interview, according to the Washington Times

First, they argue, Mueller has been given unprecedented access to White House documents and aides. Second, there is no stated crime. And third, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in 1997, during the Bill Clinton administration, that investigators must first exhaust all other avenues for information before turning to the president.

Paranoia Grips White House As Trump’s Inner Circle Worries about Secret Recordings

By Steve Neavling

Tension and paranoia have gripped the White House as the special counsel’s investigation gets closer to Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Already on edge, White House officials are questioning whether witnesses for Special Counsel Robert Mueller were wired to covertly record conversations, sources close to the president told Politico

“They’re probably shitting bricks,” said an attorney who represents a senior Trump aide caught up in the Russia investigation. “How can you not?”

The latest bad news for Trump was the revelation that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has agreed to cooperate with investigators after pleading guilty Friday to lying to the FBI.

Trump’s inner circle has already been worried following the discovery that former campaign aide George Papadopoulos reached a secret deal earlier this summer.

White House attorneys and private counsel for current and former Trump aides acknowledged they have asked their clients whether they’ve had discussions with any potential witnesses who could have been wired. 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia has heated up in recent weeks.

Trump’s Lawyers Try to Keep President Calm to Prevent Self-Sabotage

By Steve Neavling

President Trump is a nightmare client for lawyers.

Predisposed to self-sabotage, Trump is worrying his attorneys about his impulse to be combative in the face of federal investigations.

Vanity Fair reports that Trump’s lawyers are “taking pains to project calm, telling the president he has nothing to fear and that the investigation, which some posits is just getting started, will wind down soon.” 

“The people who have been interviewed generally feel they were treated fairly by the special counsel, and adequately prepared to assist them in understanding the relevant material,” White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who has urged the president to cooperate with Mueller and his team, told The Washington Post. “They came back feeling relieved that it was over, but nobody I know of was shaken or scared.” 

Vanity Fair wrote:

One of the goals of this effort, it appears, is to prevent Trump from flying into a rage and firing Mueller, as several of his allies have suggested he do if it appears Mueller is expanding the scope of his investigation into the president’s finances. “I’ve done my best, without overstepping, to share my view that the perception of the inquiry—that it involved a decade or more of financial transactions and other alleged issues that were mistakenly reported—just wasn’t true, and that the issues were narrower and wholly consistent with the mandate provided by the Justice Department to the Office of the Special Counsel,” he said, adding that he believes the investigation will be wrapped up by the end of the year, or shortly thereafter. As for further revelations regarding foreign contacts that are reportedly on the horizon, Cobb said he does not expect them to “unduly extend the inquiry.”

Secret Service Arrests Individual Who Tried to Jump White House Fence

By Steve Neavling

The Secret Service arrested an individual who tried to jump a security border at the White House while President trump was inside Sunday morning.

The suspect, who has not been identified, tried to jump over the barrier on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House.

A row of metal bike racks had been installed in that area in response to other fence-jumpers.

No injuries were reported.

House Intelligence Committee Reviews Documents Related to Infamous Trump Dossier

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Allan Lengel

The controversial dossier on Donald Trump isn’t vanishing any time soon.

The latest: Justice Department and FBI officials showed classified documents related to the controversial document behind closed doors Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, Fox News reports.

The committee is trying to determine what federal law enforcement has done to flush out the report compiled by the Washington-based boutique investigative firm Fusion GPS headed up by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson.

The documents reviewed Tuesday were presented for inspection pursuant to a subpoena issued by the committee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif,  Fox reports.