By all accounts, ex-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was not particularly forthcoming in her interview with the House Judiciary Committee — but according to the 273-page transcript of the closed-door hearing released on Thursday, she did begin to discuss a key point at which President Donald Trump potentially obstructed justice — until White House lawyers sitting with her intervened.
CNN's Manu Raju explained the details to Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."
"She did answer some questions about her time in the campaign season, and at one point did make one reference to something that later became a dispute," said Raju. "She was asked about the details in the Mueller report in which the president tried to get Jeff Sessions, the then-Attorney General, to un-recuse himself, to go back and oversee the Russia investigation after he had stepped aside from overseeing it."
"According to the Mueller report, he discussed it with Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, essentially deliver the message to Jeff Sessions," said Raju. "According to the Mueller report, Corey Lewandowski had discussed this with Hope Hicks. When this was asked to Hope Hicks in this closed-door session, she referred to it as, quote, 'odd.' She said it was odd about the whole — the way this episode played out."
"The Democrats said, well, what do you mean by odd? That's what Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the committee, tried to get her to clarify," said Raju. "At that point, the White House lawyers stepped in, they objected to further line of questioning."