A Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee is defending White House communications director Hope Hicks, saying her questioning by Democrats on the panel was a “setup” to get her to acknowledge telling untruths for President Donald Trump.
During Hicks’ testimony to the committee Tuesday, she reportedly admitted to telling white lies on behalf of Trump, but said she never had to lie on substantial issues for him.
“It truly was just a setup of this witness, who was trying to be forthright and honest,” Utah Rep. Chris Stewart told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday. “The question was so broad. It was, ‘In any circumstances, regardless of what it might be, have you ever felt any pressure to be deceitful or to be dishonest regarding any subject?’ And she answered it honestly. And that is, anyone in that circumstance, there is none of us in our lives that can say we have always been 100% honest.”
Stewart said upon hearing the question, his Republican colleagues intervened: “We realized that this was, frankly, just a setup and that it was designed to make a headline, so we asked her specifically – we interjected – we are talking about this investigation with Russia, regarding collusion or conspiracy, regarding the hacking of the DNC.”
After they narrowed the question to those areas, Hicks was “adamant,” he said, recalling that she answered: “‘No, absolutely not.’”
Hicks testified before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia investigation. It’s one of several ongoing probes looking at Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether there were any ties between Russia and Trump campaign associates.
Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion.
The White House announced Wednesday that Hicks was resigning from her role with the Trump administration. Hicks is expected to depart in the next few weeks.