Trump not joking about foreign help in elections - Hicks

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks told U.S.

Reuters June 21, 2019 07:06:27 IST
Trump not joking about foreign help in elections - Hicks

Trump not joking about foreign help in elections  Hicks

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks told U.S. lawmakers that U.S. President Donald Trump was not joking about his readiness to accept derogatory information on political opponents from a foreign government, a congressional interview transcript released on Thursday showed.

The 273-page transcript, released by Democrats who lead the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, chronicles eight hours of closed-door testimony that Hick provided the panel on Wednesday as part of a congressional probe of possible obstruction of justice and other misconduct by Trump.

Hicks, who was Trump's campaign press secretary, declined to answer questions about her 14-month tenure at the White House after the administration asserted that she had immunity from testifying on the topic. Democrats say the transcript cites 155 instances in which lawyers from the White House and Justice Department blocked her from answering.

But Hicks did answer questions about the campaign, including hush payments to two women who claimed to have affairs with Trump, and about events that have occurred since she departed the White House in March 2018.

Lawmakers asked the 30-year-old public relations consultant and former fashion model about comments Trump made in a recent ABC News interview, in which the president said he saw nothing wrong with reviewing damaging information about political opponents from a foreign government.

"I don't think that was a joke, based on what I saw," Hicks told the committee, adding that she would not accept such information from a foreign source today and would report any such offer to federal authorities.

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 448-page report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign found insufficient evidence to establish that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow, despite numerous contacts between the campaign and Russia.

Representative Doug Collins, the panel's top Republican, said the transcript contained no new information and called on Democrats to subpoena Mueller to testify.

Earlier on Thursday, an expert witness told the committee at a public hearing that Trump's remarks to ABC could violate the presidential oath of office and provide evidence for any future impeachment inquiry.

"Receiving foreign assistance has been recognized throughout the entire history of the country as something that is counter to and undermines the Constitution," said Carrie Cordero, a conservative attorney who is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank.

"That is an invitation ... to Russian intelligence and any other intelligence service that's out there that wants to try to find a way to influence our democratic processes," she added.

Cordero also pointed to the Trump campaign's use of hacked emails from Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee that were released by Wikileaks as fertile ground for inquiry.

But Hicks told lawmakers she saw nothing wrong with using the Wikileaks material against Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, saying the Trump campaign was "taking publicly available information to draw a contrast between the candidates."

She also disputed the assertion that the Wikileaks emails had been hacked: "Did those emails describe hacked information?" Hicks asked one questioner. "I don't believe they described hacked information."

Asked if the Trump campaign was "happy" to get the Wikileaks emails damaging to Clinton, Hicks said: "I don't think that's a fair characterization. I think "relief that we weren't the only campaign with issues" is more accurate."

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

India considers emergency authorisation of vaccine as COVID-19 cases surge
World

India considers emergency authorisation of vaccine as COVID-19 cases surge

By Rajendra Jadhav MUMBAI (Reuters) - India said on Sunday it was considering granting an emergency authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces, as the country's number of reported infections passed 4.75 million. India, which has consistently reported over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths daily this month, has now recorded 78,586 fatalities from the disease. It lags only the United States globally in overall number of infections, but it has been adding more daily cases than the United States since mid-August

Would-be Merkel successor Laschet loses ground in local election win
World

Would-be Merkel successor Laschet loses ground in local election win

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Christian Democrats were set for an election win in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday, an exit poll showed, but their share of the vote shrank, denting state premier Armin Laschet's ambitions to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel. Laschet, who is positioning himself as the continuity candidate to succeed Merkel, had hoped to increase the Christian Democrats' share of the vote in the local elections to boost his standing ahead of a December party leadership showdown

Peru bid to oust president loses steam as opposition splits
World

Peru bid to oust president loses steam as opposition splits

By Marco Aquino LIMA (Reuters) - A bid by the opposition-led Congress to remove Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra appeared to falter on Sunday, after key political leaders rejected the ouster over fears the upheaval would plunge the country into a political crisis. César Acuña, head of the second-largest party in Congress and a possible candidate in 2021 presidential elections, said an ouster would "aggravate" the country's current situation, already fragile from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Acuña's party had given key votes last Friday to start impeachment proceedings against Vizcarra over leaked audio tapes some lawmakers said showed the president trying to downplay ties to a singer being probed over government contracts