Democrats were furious that former White House aide Hope Hicks would not answer questions about her time in the White House during a nearly eight hour closed-door testimony on Wednesday and claimed it was “obstruction of justice.”
Hicks testified to the House Judiciary Committee as part of its efforts to follow up on the special counsel report released in April that found the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russia and did not recommend that President Trump be charged with obstruction.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a member of the committee, told reporters upon leaving the hearing, “We’re watching obstruction of justice in action,” according to Politico.
“Obstruction of justice,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also told CNN.
"Obstruction of justice," Pelosi says when I asked her about WH saying Hope Hicks cannot answer questions about her time at the WH pic.twitter.com/CLdUERqsxq
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 19, 2019
A White House lawyer present for her testimony reportedly prevented Hicks from discussing her time in the White House and during the presidential transition period, claiming she had blanket immunity, according to Politico.
Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) reportedly dismissed the White House’s claim of immunity and said his committee would “destroy” those assertions in court, if he chooses to file a lawsuit to enforce a subpoena the committee issued to her this year.
A transcript of testimony is expected to be released in days.
Hicks was reportedly questioned by Democrats on alleged hush-money payments Trump directed to women accusing him of extramarital affairs before the 2016 election and on campaign meetings where Wikileaks was discussed.
Both Democrats and Republicans indicated they learned very little new information during the hearing.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) called the hearing a political stunt:
Today’s Hope Hicks closed-door hearing is a political stunt. Democrats are looking to recreate the Mueller investigation.
Meanwhile, the crisis on the border continues. When will Dems focus on helping the country?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) June 19, 2019
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted a photo of an alligator swimming with a knife in its head, joking that is how he and other Republicans on the committee felt after hearing Democrats ask Hicks the same question reportedly for eight hours:
How @RepAndyBiggsAZ, @replouiegohmert, @RepDougCollins, @RepRatcliffe & I felt as @HouseJudiciary Democrats asked Hope Hicks the same questions (already answered in the Mueller Report) repeatedly for 8 hours today. https://t.co/887THdc2aT
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) June 20, 2019
President Trump said Democrats were trying to get a “do over” on the special counsel investigation:
….asking Hillary Clinton why she deleted and acid washed her Emails AFTER getting a subpoena from Congress? Anybody else would be in jail for that, yet the Dems refuse to even bring it up. Rigged House Committee
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2019