White House Communications Director Hope Hicks announced her resignation today, it was learned. According to people familiar with the matter, Hicks had been considering leaving the White House for months. She told colleagues that she had accomplished what she felt she could in one of the highest profile jobs in Washington.
Her departure date is unclear, but it will likely be within the next few weeks.
Hicks is a longtime personal aide and confidant not just to President Trump but to the entire Trump family. She started working in First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion business before transitioning to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. She became one of most trusted Trump aides in the course of her time there. “Her most important role is her bond with the candidate,” Paul Manafort, former Trump’s campaign manager once said of her. “She totally understands him.”
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years,” the President said today. “She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side, but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future.”
“I quickly realized what so many have learned about Hope: She is strategic, poised and wise beyond her years,” said White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. “She became a trusted adviser and counselor, and did a tremendous job overseeing the communications for the president’s agenda including the passage of historic tax reform. She has served her country with great distinction. To say that she will be missed is an understatement.”
Hicks’ role in the campaign, as well as the White House, had become the subject of scrutiny for Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the Russian meddling investigation, in recent weeks. Mueller had reportedly become interested in a meeting aboard Air Force One last year in which Hicks disagreed with the Trump legal team’s spokesman about revealing the true nature of a meeting the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had with Russians in June 2016 during the presidential election.
Hicks allegedly told that spokesman, Mark Corallo, revealing the true purpose of the meeting wasn’t necessary because emails written by Trump Jr. accepting and planning the meeting would “never get out,” implying they could be withheld from prosecutors. Corallo resigned his position shortly after the incident, feeling those events likely constituted obstruction of justice.
An attorney for Hicks vigorously denied the account. “She never said that,” attorney Robert P. Trout said earlier this month. “And the idea that Hope Hicks ever suggested that emails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false.”
Hicks testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, in a closed-door session, but relegated her testimony to events that took place during the campaign. She refused to answer questions on events that occurred during the transition or after she entered the White House, asserting executive privilege at the White House’s behest.
When asked whether she had ever lied on behalf of Donald Trump, she reportedly told the Committee that she had told “white lies” for him from time to time.
Hicks has also been interviewed by Mueller’s team as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee in their respective investigations, according to multiple sources.
It’s unclear whether the investigations into the Russia scandal or the increasing attention she had been receiving played a role in her decision. Hicks studiously avoided the limelight as well as media attention, which only added to her mystique.