Former Trump confidante Hope Hicks to cooperate with House Democratic probe into Trump

Posted at 7:11 PM, Mar 20, 2019

Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director and long-time confidante of President Donald Trump, plans to turn over documents to the House Judiciary Committee as part of its investigation into potential obstruction of justice.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent Hicks a detailed letter earlier this month, asking for documents on a wide-range of topics, including over former national security adviser Michael Flynn's false statements to the FBI, the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, Trump's involvement in a hush-money scheme to silence stories about his alleged affairs and the drafting of a misleading 2017 statement to the media about Donald Trump Jr.'s 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with Russians.

The request included documents from "any personal or work diary, journal or other book containing notes, a record or a description of daily events" about Trump, the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization and the executive office of the President.

Hicks and other current administration officials have agreed to provide documents to the committee, according to Nadler's spokesman Daniel Schwarz. Hicks' attorney declined to comment.

The development comes amid a growing fight between House Democrats and the White House over a range of investigations -- after the White House has ignored a number of deadlines set by Democratic chairmen, who now wield subpoena power. The White House has not yet provided information to Nadler, a Democrat from New York, as part of his investigation -- despite a deadline this past Monday.

Hicks' cooperation comes in stark contrast to former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who is facing an array of questions from the House Oversight Committee over his role in the White House security clearance process. Kelly is allowing the White House counsel's office to respond to the Democrats' demands for information, but Hicks appears to be interacting directly with the House Judiciary Committee.

While she has agreed to cooperate, it's unclear how much information Hicks will ultimately provide the committee.

Last year, Hicks testified behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee, but she did not answer all of the questions from Democrats, who at the time were in the minority.

One of the Trump campaign's earliest hires, Hicks in 2018 was willing to answer questions about the 2016 campaign and some questions about the Trump transition, but she would not address questions about her time in the White House. Democrats on the committee had urged their Republican colleagues to subpoena Hicks to answer their questions. Now in the majority, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, has indicated he also is interested in getting additional information from Hicks, too.

Nadler had set a Monday deadline for 81 individuals and entities to provide information to the panel as part of his investigation into possible abuses of power, corruption and obstruction of justice. Republicans contended that few -- only eight -- complied by Monday's deadline. But Democratic aides said far more witnesses had agreed to provide information in the coming days -- and Hicks is just one such example.

Hicks isn't the only former White House official who is cooperating with the House Judiciary Committee. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, for instance, has already provided the committee with several thousands of pages of documents.

A spokesman for AMI, the parent company of the National Enquirer, said "American Media will comply with the request."

Ike Kaveladze, a Russian American who attended the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr and the Russian lawyer, has also complied with the request, his lawyer told CNN. Kaveladze is a long -time employee of Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, who hosted with Trump the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Agalarov asked his son Emin, a Russian pop singer, to set up the meeting with Trump Jr.

Others, like former White House counsel Don McGahn, are referring their inquiries from the committee to the White House.

The House Judiciary Committee is also moving toward its first interview tied to the letters it sent to kick off the investigation: Felix Sater, who promoted the Trump Tower Moscow project, is scheduled to testify behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee next Thursday, according to two sources with knowledge of the appearance. It's the day after Sater is slated to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee.