Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee plan to question President Donald Trump's long-time confidante Hope Hicks Wednesday about her knowledge of the hush-money scheme to silence Trump's extramarital affairs in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

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White House will assert immunity for Hope Hicks during congressional testimony

June 18, 2019 - 5:29 pm
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By Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Pamela Brown, CNN

(CNN) -- The White House is asserting immunity for President Donald Trump's long-time confidant Hope Hicks from having to testify on Wednesday about her time in the White House.

While a White House official will be in the room during her testimony, Democrats say that they will not accept assertions of executive privilege over her entire time while serving as the White House communications director, arguing it won't hold up in court because she discussed these matters with the special counsel. If executive privilege is invoked, they will engage in an "on-the-spot" negotiation over whether she can answer a particular question.

Democrats would not say yet if they would take Hicks to court if she declines to answer certain questions, but said the committee is not afraid to assert its authority to get their questions answered.

The news comes a day before Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee plan to question Hicks about her knowledge of the hush-money scheme to silence Trump's extramarital affairs in the run-up to the 2016 elections, according to a committee aide.

The revelation signals renewed interest on Capitol Hill over the President being implicated in felonies committed by former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, after the panel has been mostly focused until now over the allegations detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report on obstruction of justice.

At Wednesday's closed hearing, Hicks also will face questions about episodes detailed in the Mueller report that she had knowledge of or had witnessed first-hand, the aide said.

Among the topics Democrats plan to ask Hicks: Trump's conduct surrounding his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn; Trump's demands to ask the then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe; the President's actions surrounding the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey; Trump's efforts to dismiss Mueller from overseeing the probe; and allegations the President sought to curtail the Mueller probe.

Moreover, they plan to press Hicks about her involvement in issuing misleading statements in 2017 after the Trump Tower meeting with Russians was revealed in press accounts. Plus, they have questions about then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is now in jail, according to the aide.

A transcript of the interview will be released -- potentially within 48 hours -- but Democrats plan to discuss what they learn at a Thursday public hearing about lessons learned from the Mueller report, the aide said.

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